Start of a New Friendship
After ensuring that he had everything he needed for a day at the restaurant and maybe an impromptu jaunt into the labyrinth for ingredients, Flavio closed the door to his rented room at Flaus Inn and headed for the staircase that led to the foyer. He was no doubt he was the first one up, as per usual. The others won’t take much longer, though, so he left them to complete their daily morning rituals in peace.
He’d just wait in the sitting room off the side of the inn’s foyer and hope that Bertrand didn’t needed to be coaxed (kicked) out of bed like some mornings. The fire place looked absolutely tantalising on such a frosty morning.
As Flavio reached the bottom step, a person who appeared slightly younger than him with orange hair pulled back into a small ponytail, vivid violet eyes, and a white medical coat stepped out of the clinic’s office. In his arms were a pile of books and documents that he seemed to be having trouble carrying.
Without a second thought, Flavio made a beeline for the medic. “Oh, let me help you with those,” he said as he reached him.
The medic seemed surprised for a moment, looking over toward him with wide eyes. He, however, smiled warmly and allowed Flavio to remove the heavy objects in his arms.
“Thank you,” he said in earnest as he rubbed his upper arm absentmindedly with his right hand. “I’m afraid my scrawny arms are more useful for healing than manual labour.”
“I think you did well to get as far as you did,” Flavio said as he readjusted his hold on the books and binders in his arms. “This is pretty heavy.”
The medic chuckled softly before indicating with his hand for Flavio to follow him into another room, a storage room by appearance. He then indicated to a cabinet that was next to a book shelf that was filled with folders with abbreviated lettering on the sides. “If you could place them there for me, that would be greatly appreciated.”
With a nod of his head, Flavio carried the folders and placed them where he was instructed to, inwardly grateful to release his hold on them. They were a lot heavier than they looked.
With his helpful deed of the day done, Flavio turned to the medic and found himself studying him for a moment. He was a head shorter than him, perhaps Arianna’s height, but quite skinny. If Bertrand happened to see him Flavio was sure that the old man wouldn’t be able to stop himself from making a comment about finding someone scrawnier than Flavio for a change.
“Thanks again for that,” the medic said as he turned to give him his full attention and tilted his head slightly to the side. “I don’t believe we’ve met, which is odd since I know about half of the explorers in town.”
The medic appeared friendly enough, so Flavio saw no harm in introducing himself. “Oh, my name is Flavio.”
Instead of immediately introducing himself in return, the medic’s eyes widen a fraction and a surprisingly bright smile appeared on his lips. “Oh, you’re Flavio?” he said. “Hanna has mentioned you to me several times now.”
Flavio felt his cheeks heat up with an embarrassed flush, inwardly wondering (panicking) about what the inn-keeper had been saying about him. And to who.
However, instead of jokingly commenting that whatever Hanna had told him where lies and slander, Flavio paused as he looked at the violet-eyed medic and something immediately occurred to him. Hanna had mentioned a medic to him several times, too, saying how she would love it if the two of them met as she was certain they would get along like a house on fire.
Something about caretakers finding security and relaxation in one another. Whatever that meant.
“You wouldn’t be Lynus, would you?” Flavio asked.
The medic laughed lightly. “That’s right,” he said. “No doubt she’s prattled about me, too?”
“She has!” Flavio replied with a smile. “She keeps mentioning that you’re like your guild’s mother.”
Lynus huffed slightly and brushed a strand of his orange hair from his eyes. “She would tell you that, wouldn’t she? She also said that we’re both too skinny for our own good and need to be fattened up. Pronto.”
Flavio laughed to cover up a wince and scratched the back of his neck. “Yep, she tells me that often, too…” he dropped his arm back to his side. “So, you’re part of a guild?”
“Yes, that’s right. My guild called the Guardians,” Lynus explained with a fond smile. “We explore the labyrinth, but we deal mostly with search and rescue, though.”
The Guardians? Yeah, Flavio had heard of them, mostly from Cass, but definitely from Hanna, Quinoa, and Abigale as well. From what he could deduce, they were a highly skilled and trusted guild who was able to find those that were ‘lost’, be them people or objects. They also worked mainly with the hospital, ensuring that there were enough ingredients for medical potions and tonics.
A lot of people who worked closely with the labyrinth held great praise for them. There was one member that was often mentioned, though, praised for saving hundreds of lives!
“You wouldn’t be the Miracle Medic I’ve been hearing about, are you?” Flavio asked.
Immediately, Lynus’ eyes widen and a deep red blush appeared on his cheeks. His hand flew up toward his face and he idly rubbed at his cheeks with the palm of his hand. “I can’t believe they actually call me that…” he murmured under his breath, looking adorably embarrassed. “Complete exaggeration.”
“We’ve all got nicknames that are embarrassing,” Flavio said in a pacifying manner as he tried not to think about his own.
The blush on Lynus’ cheeks lessened slightly and his hand dropped from his face to rest by his side. “I take it you have some, too?”
“Nope! Not telling.”
Lynus laughed in a completely friendly manner and Flavio found himself remarkably relaxing. There was just something completely benign and nonthreatening about the orange-haired medic.
“I’m sure I’ll find them out eventually,” Lynus replied in a slightly teasing tone. “Hanna loves a good gossip. As soon as she finds out, I will know.”
Flavio folded his arms loosely over his chest as he leaned his hip against the counter, a smile playing on his lips. “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about blackmail.”
Lynus nodded his head as he folded his hands together in front of them, appearing slightly fidgety, not from nervousness, but for wanting to do something to keep his hands busy which seemed to be completely out of habit. “Hanna can’t keep a secret to save her life. Her daughter, however…”
Flavio tilted his head to the side. “Quinoa?”
“Only when she’s under the influence of her dubbed ‘older sister’,” Lynus pointed out with a knowing smile. “If you see a pink-haired troubadour wandering around; run in the opposite direction.”
“Oh, I’m pretty good at running away.”
“However, running won’t do any good if you suddenly find yourself followed by a grumpily adorable brown-haired gunner.”
Flavio felt his grin widen. “Why’s that?”
“We call the pair The Pinkettes,” Lynus explained, his expression still gentle with fondness, yet there was a sense of amusement in his eyes. “And the older pinkette, Binah, is the town’s ‘matchmaker’. And if you travel into the labyrinth, she sends poor ol’ Macerio into the labyrinth to do her work for her there.”
“Yikes,” Flavio responded with a playful expression of fear on his face. “So I won’t be safe even in the labyrinth?”
Chuckling, Lynus shook his head. “Afraid not. Although, Macerio makes it really obvious and resists all his own efforts, so you can still flee, I guess.”
“But you can only run so far?”
“I guess I’ll just have to hide in Ginnungagap for a while…” Flavio trailed off as he winced slightly. Honestly, he didn’t want to visit those ruins ever again if he had the choice.
Lynus’ expression lit up in surprise. “Oh, you’ve been to the ruins outside the city?”
As if sensing his hesitancy, Lynus’ looked at him with a comforting expression. “I’ve never been there, but I’ve been wondering about the types of materials that can be gathered there.”
That immediately caught Flavio’s attention. He had had a few explorers wanting (and sometimes demanding) to know if there were any treasures found inside the Ginnungagap ruins, but none had asked him about materials before.
“You mean for medicine?” Flavio asked.
“Yes,” Lynus said with a nod of his head before launching into an explanation. “I don’t normally work at the clinic, I mean I do when no one else is available, but I spend most of my time off, as it were, working at the hospital’s research facilities. There my guild and I work together with Dr Stiles, the head doctor, to ease the burden on the hospital and ensure the safety of adventurers and explorers in the labyrinth.”
Flavio was stunned into silence for a moment. “…Really? That sounds incredible!”
A light blush reappeared on Lynus’ cheeks, but he seemed to hold a sense of pride toward his work. And toward his guild.
That was honestly something Flavio would have loved to be a part of. If only…
“Well, there’s nothing within the Ginnungagap that can be gathered,” Flavio explained as he turned his attention to what monster materials that could be found rather than the despairing events of what had occurred within those ruins. “But the monsters there are some that aren’t found within the Yggdrasil Labyrinth.”
Lynus nodded his head idly before tapping his chin in thought. “Monsters, hm? Sounds like something Tobyn would be interested in…”
Flavio quirked his head to the side in question. “A guildmate?”
“Oh, yes, he’s a survivalist like you,” Lynus answered with a bright smile. “He appears unapproachable at first and doesn’t like to talk to those he doesn’t know well, but I’m sure you two would get on extremely well once you start talking to him about the monster and item codex.”
Flavio jumped slightly at the sound of his name being called in an almost frustrated but concerned manner, and quickly remembered that he was supposed to be meeting up with Fafnir and his guild before heading to the restaurant. He totally got lost in conversation!
“Oops, sorry, I better go,” Flavio said in an apologetic manner as he scurried to the door. “Fafnir might throw a fit if he can’t find me.”
“Yes, sorry for keeping you,” Lynus immediately replied, he, too, looking apologetic before smiling in an understanding manner. “And I know how you feel. I have a protective partner, too.”
“Hope we can speak again,” Lynus continued. “I also hope that you’ll meet the rest of my guild. I’m sure you’ll get along well.”
“Hm. I look forward to meeting them!”