Silencia smiles and shrugs lightly at Ren's comment. "I don't really care for elaborate decorations... A home is a home, that's all there is to it." Silencia seems a bit excited, she's going to see Ren's apartment for the first time, so that was something to be excited about. "By the way, thanks again for having me over, I hope I'm not being a bother? I was just a bit curious..."
Serenity opens the door (which fortunately has a handle for easy grasping with damp fins) to reveal the small couch ahead and mirrored wall to the side, then slides out of the way to allow Silencia to enter. "No bother at all. It's not as though I was preparing snacks. I'm fairly sure that you wouldn't want those." Ren grins and gestures inward. "Perhaps sometime you will show off your apartment when you are happy with it?"
Silencia peeks curiously into the apartment before stepping in, already fascinated by how there is an entire apartment filled with water that does not spill into the little dry entryway. "To be honest, I haven't properly gotten myself an apartment. I've been staying with Kotal and the others..." She grins sheepishly. "I'm used to living with a large group of people cramped into a small home, so an apartment all to myself gets really lonely." She pokes at the water that's held back by the forcefield, always amazed by the technology available in this place. She peeks through the water and smiles. "From what I can see, your home is lovely! Is this forcefield a kind of technology that you brought with you from your homeworld?"
Serenity shuts the door behind Silencia and ripples back against the mirror to leave her room. Ren nods thoughtfully in reply to her living arrangements. "I'm accustomed to living in a city with a much higher population density than here, but we do still value some privacy between people who are not relatives." Ren adds, "I think that perhaps Kotal would prefer the fighters to live in the TASK apartments, too." Ren smiles at Silencia's latter remark. "It is the kind of technology, or at least a simulation of it," Ren agrees, shifting next to Silencia to park the field generator on the threshold of the living room. "The room and nearly all of its furnishings were created by the apartment from an advertisement that I had saved. The exceptions are the photo that I brought with me," Ren gestures toward the living room shelf, "and the print and flowers, gifts from Johann."
Silencia chuckles softly. "Well... I'm not exactly a fighter, am I?" At the mention of gifts, Silencia gasps and smacks her hand on her forehead. "I knew I forgot something! I was going to bring a gift!" Silencia grins sheepishly at Serenity. "Oh well, might as well get your opinion on it before bringing it. I found a rather pretty plant that thrives underwater, would you like me to bring it some other time?" The priestess pauses and tilts her head curiously. "Who is Johann? I don't think I've met him..."
"Field support, then?" Ren amends, then returns a smile at her gesture. "You didn't need to bring anything, but I would certainly enjoy one." With a motion of the trailing edges, Ren puts the environment suit in 'park' and ripples backwards through the overlapping forcefields into the living room. Despite the sharp boundary between air and water, Ren's voice is still clearly audible as it is with the portable forcefield. Released from the suit, Ren stretches both pairs of fins to a full six-foot span before relaxing in an easy ripple to 'stand' just inside the forcefield wall. Silencia's latter question, Ren grins and looks down. "Johann is one of the doctors at the clinic in town, a generally mild-mannered older fellow. He and I are in a relationship."
Silencia watches interestedly as Serenity slips from her suit to the inside of her apartment. This kind of technology never fails to amaze her. The mention of Ren being in a relationship with this Johann gets a very interested look from Silencia. Her lips curl up into a grin and she steps closer, almost touching the forcefield. "Oh my, Serenity, you have failed to mention that before! Tell me all about him!" She's as excited as a little girl, especially since Ren looks rather adorable when she mentions the man, she can't help but pry.
"Did I?" Ren says, looking up again as Silencia comes closer. Ren flows down closer to the floor and takes a slightly diagonal posture so as to be eye-to-eye with Silencia. "Well, he is enormously busy with work, so we can't spend as much time together as I would like," Ren explains, motioning out to the sides. "Johann is compassionate toward others and nearly as passionate about teaching medical skill as he is about using them. And though he lived in a particularly ugly war zone for some time prior to coming here, it doesn't seem to have dulled his quiet charm and optimism."
Silencia can't help but frown slightly when Ren tells her about how busy Johann is and that frown turns to concern when war is mentioned. "Oh my... it must've been difficult..." It is unclear if she's talking about them not being able to spend much time together or the work of a medic in wartime. "Allow me to give you a warning, I'm going to hug you now..." She slips through the forcefield and does as she promised. It is fortunate that she can swim, or else this would've been difficult. She slips her arms around Ren and gives the friendly mollusc a gentle hug. She can't help but marvel at the squishiness though, something that she loved about Ren from the moment she had met her.
Serenity nods thoughtfully. "I have great respect for maintaining idealism and practicality in a consistent way," Ren mentions. Silencia's latter remark gets a slight inward 'blink' of the eyes. Ren responds to the hug in a more passive way at first, 'wings' folding backwards against the mane of gills under Silencia's arms. Despite the usual fluid movements, it becomes clear with a little pressure that Ren is not limply squishy in the manner of gelatin dessert, but more dynamically squishy like the human tongue. The layers of muscle and Ren's shape shift under Silencia's grasp, firming again at the minimum size for keeping internal organs protected. After recovering composure, Ren grins and squeezes back using the lower portions of the fins not pinned by Silencia's arms.
Silencia grins happily at Ren, it has been a while since she had a proper hug! After a little while, she can't help but need more air, so she reluctantly releases Serenity and steps out of the forcefield, giggling softly. She is left just a little damp, but that is no problem for the priestess of the sun. A happy smile is on Silencia's face. "I'm glad I finally got to hug you!"
"Likewise," Ren replies cheerily, quickly returning to the usual shape with no ill effects to having the 'wings' bent backwards. "While Johann is happy to hug when properly attired, it isn't at all the same thing from him." Ren grins and waggles rhinophores toward her briefly before continuing. "I certainly wouldn't mind more friendly pats and pokes with others, but not everyone's culture is supportive of such." Ren motions a pair of fin edges toward her. "We have to practice our spoken comfort and spoken teasing more instead, no?"
Silencia giggles lightheartedly, already in a great mood. "I understand how you feel, I'm used to having lots of friendly physical contact, but here it seems that people tend to shy away from all that. Especially Rayne..." She laughs softly. "But I'm helping her get over that, so hopefully we'll have her on our side someday!" Silencia then grins playfully at Ren at that last little comment. "Oh, I do believe we should practice those skills... though I have a feeling that some people would still be very uncomfortable with that..." She stretches out and sighs happily. "Ahh, I feel energized now!" She settles down on the little couch for now, smiling at Ren. "How did you meet Johann and how did you two get into a relationship? I'm sorry if it seems like I'm prying, but I'm very curious..."
"Do continue to give hug warnings to Rayne and to strangers, or you may end up meeting Johann before I see him again," Ren cautions with a note of amusement. As Silencia lies down, Ren also shifts to lying on one side horizontally and perpendicular to her, taking up a position the same distance above the floor as the couch cushion. Ren considers her question for a moment before replying. "We came to know each other better just by frequently happening across each other in common gathering places, as well as elsewhere, like the bookstore. We don't share all our interests, but I feel like our reaction to the chaos here, imagining a better world and peaceful meane of achieving that, is similar." Ren motions toward Silencia. "He's stronger in the face of challenges to that, mind you."
Silencia grins at Ren's comment about hug warnings. "I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve to prevent such accidents! Nontheless, I would like to meet him though, he sounds like a really friendly guy." As Ren tells her about how she met Johann, Silencia can't help but smile warmly. "You two came together naturally then. How wonderful!"
"Tricks?" Ren remarks curiously. "I do hope that you can meet- outside of the clinic," Ren then agrees. In contrast to Silencia's lying down, Ren's position above the floor seems to require a slight effort to maintain, if perhaps an unconscious effort. The edges of the two pairs of fins gently twist and undulate to keep Ren in place. "If the way we came together was natural, what would be an artificial sort of beginning?" Ren asks with a note of amusement. Motioning to Silencia, Ren adds, "Attention-grabbing snacks, perhaps?"
Silencia smiles playfully and winks at Ren. "Did you forget I can make myself invisible when in nature? I'll use that to get myself out of trouble!" Her grin shows that she's just kidding though. Silencia sits up, gathering her feet underneath her in a comfortable seated position. Silencia blushes when Ren mentions 'attention-grabbing snacks', of course that reminded her of her own experience with romance. "I..I meant that the both of you were naturally compatible and got together as such!" Oh my, it seems Silencia gets rather shy when it involves this topic. "An artificial sort of beginning would be something along the lines of pretending to be someone you're not, or trying to make a relationship work with a lie. A natural connection is something that is strong and comfortable, that's why I feel that it's very wonderful..."
Serenity smirks and waves rhinophores at Silencia with her reaction, then nods to her clarification. As she sits, Ren shifts to 'kneeling' just above the floor with upper body twisted towards her. "I see. I thought that perhaps you meant something like an arranged marriage or being 'fixed up' with someone." Ren continues thoughtfully, "I might have been incredulous at the notion of you professing feelings for Kotal, instead of merely surprised, if I didn't have a highly improbable relationship myself." Ren shifts the 'wings' to a roughly rectangular shape with extrusions of 'fingers' and 'toes' at the corners. "At least you have the same sort of limbs."
Silencia blushes slightly at the mention of Kotal, the girl already smiling. "I know we're a rather unusual pair, but was it really that odd?" When Ren goes on to talk about her own unusual pairing, Silencia frowns slightly. "I don't think you need to worry about that. I mean, Johann likes you the way you are, right? He likes the you that happens to look a bit different than him. Isn't that more important?" Silencia giggles lightly "And the way you are now is very delightful to hug and cuddle with, so that's an advantage!"
"I have to say that is is 'that odd'," Ren replies, "but I'm sure that you would much rather that other people help youto notice similarities than to belabor differences that you are already aware of." Ren then nods as she goes on. "Yes, he does like me the way I am, even if he does seem surprised by that sometimes. I at least had experience with human people in videos, while I was the first and only fsst person he has seen." Ren grins and looks down. "He certainly doesn't seem to mind my athletic ability."
Silencia smiles helplessly, tugging on a strand of her hair absentmindedly. "I guess, like Rayne said, opposites attract..." When Ren continues, Silencia grins and nods enthousiastically. "See? You don't need to be exactly the same for attraction to happen! The differences make it more interesting even!" The mention of athletic ability allows Silencia to adopt a more teasing tone, the girl even wiggling her eyebrows. "Oohh, so I assume you have seduced him with your dancing then? My oh my Serenity, how daring!"
"I wouldn't go so far as to say 'opposites'. Perhaps 'complements'," Ren remarks. With her question, Ren shifts to hang higher but with most of the body pointed toward the back of the apartment, face remaining at the same level. "Hh...." Ren rasps for a moment before replying. "He and I both appreciate making difficult movements gracefully, even if our notions of 'difficult' are shaped by different experiences." Before returning to the previous posture, Ren briefly twists to 'stand' at the end of the couch; Ren wraps up in the fins to form a cylindrical shape and pinches in at the appropriate heights to suggest a waist and a neck. "I'm fairly sure that he doesn't imagine I have sexy legs, though."
Silencia nods smilingly. "Yes, complements... I like that." She seems to wander off in her mind, thinking about something that makes her smile. She snaps out of it and returns her attention to Ren, still smiling. "Seriously, the more you tell me about him, the more I'm thinking that you two were meant to be! What do you mean 'sexy legs'? That's the same as me going on about how I don't have sexy fins or something like that!" She reaches out to gently touch Ren, her caress so very careful. "It's surprising to me that you seem so worried about such trivial things, Ren. But I guess the realm of romance makes fools of us all..."
Serenity folds the edge of the fin to pat her fingers in return. "I joke about the legs because I don't know precisely what notions are going through his head, nor does he know my thoughts so," Ren explains. "That is, we don't use scientifically precise language to describe the nature of our physical attraction." Ren smiles and motions out to the sides. "I imagine that would be either unromantic or strange. Possibly both." Ren then gestures in Silencia's direction. "As for whether physical attraction is trivial, I would argue otherwise. Now, I'm not romantically in love with every attractive person, nor even with every attractive friend. But it's certainly somewhere in the mix of love along with compatible ethics, humor, and other things."
Silencia nods thoughtfully at the explanation, her expression sobering slightly. The talk about whether physical attraction is trivial or not makes Silencia perk up. "Oh, I didn't mean it like that... I meant that he already is attracted to you the way you are, so worrying about parts you do not have is trivial. There is no logic to attraction, you can try and find patterns and reasons, but there really is no logic behind it." Silencia grins slightly. "But both of us are very aware of that, aren't we?"
"I see now," Ren acknowledges. "Yes, I'll admit irrationality. But the work I'm trained in is all about finding patterns and reasons, distinguishing patterns that are just the right level of complexity from oversimplified and overcomplicated ones, and distinguishing imagined patterns from real ones." Ren grins and admits, "Speaking of unromantic, that is a terribly unromantic way of saying that I study why people dance..." Ren continues, "So, that colors how I see the world." Ren waves a fin edge through the forcefield into the air. "In any case, overcoming anatomy differences can be fun." Ren motions upward to the surface of the water a foot below the ceiling. "For example, there was originally only a tiny bit of air at the ceiling, but that seemed more than a bit awkward for air-breathers. We still haven't found a way for air-breathers to be underwater and talk at the same time, excepting a magical ability like Morgana's."
Silencia chuckles softly. "Not everything needs to be romantic! And I understand that that might influence you. I have the same thing with how I interact with people. I've spent my whole life taking care of children, so I sometimes tend to treat adults like I treated those children." She lets out a soft giggle. "But sometimes, those adults give me no other choice because they actually are acting like children..." Silencia seems thoughtful when the topic of breathing and talking underwater comes up. "Hmmm... that would be very convenient if we can think of something there..."
"That bit of your history is very enlightening, from the point of view of someone who studies patterns in people," Ren remarks with a grin. "Of course adults and children are very different, but that seems a very useful skill here if you can communicate with people who don't yet share your ethics." Ren flutters a wing backward toward the living room. "Perhaps you'd like a short tour? It might even inspire you to think of a solution." Ren adds, motioning to her clothing, "By the way, I thought that you were going to wear a swimsuit."
Silencia shrugs with a playful smile. "I don't know if it's useful, but it is amusing at times to see how people react to being treated like a child. It is surprising how often it actually works to calm them down!" She nods smilingly at the mention of a tour. "The conversation was so good that I forgot about touring your home! Oh and I'm wearing a swimsuit underneath my dress, but I noticed that I'm simply left damp when I leave the forcefield, so I'll just keep my dress on. I can always dry it." Silencia winks playfully. "One of the perks of being Kotal's priestess!" Silencia gets up from the couch and takes a deep breath before stepping through the forcefield once more, floating near Serenity, waiting for the mollusc to lead her.
Serenity responds to her observation about behavior with an interested look and a nod. "Maybe I should ask Dorian if he can put this ability in a clothes-drying charm, for those times when I wasn't looking where I was going on the street," Ren remarks. After she enters the water, Ren waits for Silencia to surface before also flowing up to near the surface. The head, rhinophores, eyes, and some of the gills pop into the air gap, but the mouth stays below. Ren moves close to Silencia to rasp (which may be a bit difficult to hear through the strong muffling effect of even an inch of water), "I may have a bit of trouble hearing you in air. Do speak up, please."
Silencia is relieved that there is space to breathe, or else she would not be able to do much. She smiles and nods at Serenity, speaking with a somewhat louder voice. "Is this okay? Or should I go louder?" Whenever she notices that Serenity tries to speak, Silencia freezes so she does not accidentally make noises that might drown out Ren's voice. Silencia grins and motions toward Ren. "Lead the way!"
"Yes, that will do," Ren agrees. There is a bit of echoing in the 30cm air gap and a slight sizzling sound from the few bubbles that escape from the sheet-like flows of the curtain-walls. Ren makes a quick circle around Silencia without touching her directly (though strong currents can still be felt), then fluidly ripples over to the mesh hyperboloid 'couch' between the ceiling and floor. Ren pops up again there, hanging onto it with portions of one pair of fins. Ren waits for Silencia to stop swimming. "Here we have a fine living room that doesn't see very much living," Ren says with a smile. "A screen that sees more paperwork and books than movies." Ren motions to it. "The photo is one of my few possession from home, other than some clothing and an electric pot."
Silencia follows Ren with a smile, she rather liked having a swim for once. The interior already gets curious glances and she pops back up in the bit of air before Ren speaks. The photo of Serenity's family gets her attention especially, the girl even swimming over to take a closer look. She looks around for a bit before returning to the surface. "Is that picture of your family? How lucky you were able to bring along a picture of them!"
Serenity follows alongside Silencia a short distance away. Ren isn't performing any acrobatics at the moment, but the relatively open environment of the underwater room lets Ren show off more graceful movements than the small volume of the environment suit. Despite the obvious bulk within the mottled fluorescent orange and turquoise, Ren moves freely in any direction like a hummingbird, and the relatively weak muscles of the fins can work together to generate powerful currents. "Quite!" Ren agrees as Silencia surfaces. "Yes, those are my parents and my sibling Mirth. Obviously I was much younger in that picture- Mirth is in college now." Ren frowns and adds, "-if 'now' means anything across universes."
Silencia smiles as Ren explains who's who in the picture. "You looked so adorable!" She then sighs and swims over to Serenity, giving her friend another gentle hug before resurfacing. "I do think I need to say goodbye now, Serenity. I have a couple of things I need to do, mostly involving training. I think I should get the rest of the tour the next time I come." She chuckles and adds quickly: "And that time I'll have my gift with me!" She then swims over to the forcefield, stumbling a bit as she gets out. She wraps her arms around herself and a warm gold light shines from her hands. That light seems to dry up the last bits of dampness, leaving her nice and dry. Silencia glances at Serenity and waves. "Thank you for having me over, Serenity, you home truly is lovely!"