The Story Continues

The Courting Campaign

"Rahas!"

Just before Rahas could make a quick exit out of the inn to his secret training spot, the sound of Lynus' voice pulled him to a stop. He glanced over his shoulder as Lynus quickly jogged over toward him, his orange hair dancing before his beautiful violet eyes. He had a gentle smile on his face as he clutched something to his chest.

"What is it?" Rahas asked as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket and hunched his shoulders in a slouching manner.

"Are you busy right now?" Lynus asked him as he tilted his head to the side cutely. "Hamza has given me some money to spend. We've been wondering if you would like to get a new whip for you to use in the labyrinth."

It was sweet that Lynus was still worrying about him, but Rahas can't help but feel a tad 'irked', wondering what old man Hamza had been telling Lynus about him. Thankfully, he had agreed not to tell Lynus about the, er, 'Simmons Incident', even stopping Macerio from telling him. Something about things needing to be found out in their own time.

Whatever the hell that meant. Hamza said that with a smirk, so Rahas instantly didn't like it.

"My old whip is fine," Rahas stated.

Lynus didn't even batter an eyelid at him, continuing to smile sweetly. "That might be so, but wouldn't it be better to have one for back-up at least? Besides, I want to buy you something."

…Ugh. The way that Lynus was looking at him with a sense of hope and expectancy…How could anyone say no to that face?

"Ok, fine."

Lynus' face practically lit up with delight and Rahas had to quickly look away, like a defiant teenager, so the gentle medic wouldn't see the light blush on his cheeks. Still, Rahas did nothing to deter Lynus from hooking his arm through his as they walked toward the Sitoth Trading.

While totally against any kind of personal contact, it was ok for Lynus. He was Lynus, after all.

They chatted easily along the way. Well, it was more like Lynus doing the talking; Rahas just nodded his head occasionally. He, however, had to literally bite his tongue to prevent him from making a comment when Lynus complained that everyone seemed to be growing taller than him while he pretty much stopped. The urge became harder when Lynus pouted at him, accusing him of laughing quietly.

Before Rahas could make any kind of teasing or dismissive retort, the sound of someone else, someone he didn't partially wanted to see again after that…incident called his name.

"Rahas!"

Rahas immediately bristled and then attempted to pull Lynus along, pretending not to hear the oversize oaf calling his name. However, Lynus came to an abrupt stop when he recognised the voice as well, a look of confusion on his face. He glanced briefly at Rahas before looking over his shoulder. When his eyebrows abruptly moved up toward his hair line in an expression of pure surprise, Rahas could only sigh.

Whatever was going to happen next was going to be awkward. And probably embarrassing.

"O-oh, hello Simmons," Lynus greeted politely as he always did, even to the stupid and brainless.

"Hello!" Simmons responded cheerfully.

"Those are some nice flowers," Lynus commented, all but ignoring the way that Rahas was trying to tug him away. "Are you planning on giving them to someone?"

There was a sense of smugness in Simmons' laugh, immediately causing him to bristle. "They're for Rahas."

Lynus breathed in sharply, his hand on Rahas' arm tightening a fraction. "Oh!"

"What-?" Rahas snapped as he spun around, only to have a bouquet of flowers shoved into his face, giving him no choice but to draw in the scent of pink roses. Startled, Rahas flailed around for a moment before placing both hands on the tissue paper wrapped around the bouquet and all but ripped it away from his face, gasping loudly to draw in fresh air.

"Here you go!" Simmons said as he smiled brightly, releasing his hold on the flowers and forcing Rahas to hold onto them instead. "Bye!"

As abruptly as he had appeared, he left. That idiot had absolutely no idea of the trouble he caused, did he?

"T-that was nice of Simmons," Lynus commented after an awfully long moment of awkward silence. "A little unexpected, though."

Rahas didn't verbally respond to that. He just winced.

"Um, Rahas?" Lynus prodded gently as he laid his hand on Rahas' arm. "Is there something you need to tell me?"

Rahas bristled wildly. "There's nothing that needs to be talked about!"

"Are you sure?" Lynus continued to look at him gently, in an understanding way that was rather irritating at the moment. "I mean-"

"It's fine!" Rahas insisted loudly as he shoved the bouquet under his arm and then snared Lynus' wrist, pulling him toward the Sitoth Trading.

… … … … …

The shopping trip to the Sitoth Trading was undeniably awkward after that second Simmons Incident. Lynus kept looking at the bouquet of roses, glancing between the pink roses and up at Rahas. He didn't say anything, though, thankfully. He just looked worried – and baffled.

The only reason Rahas was keeping the flowers was because if he didn't accept them now, then Simmons would only come back with more! T-that's all!

After getting what they wanted and needed (including a new whip for Rahas), Rahas escorted Lynus back to the inn, planning on dumping the roses in his room before abruptly fleeing. Having a conversation with Lynus about Simmons was not something he wanted to do. Ever.

However, as they entered the inn, Rahas felt a sense of dread wash over him once more. Standing at the front counter, looking a little disturbed with his arms folded tightly across his chest was the redheaded landsknecht. His eyes immediately looked over at Lynus, a small smile appearing on his lips when their eyes met before he flicked those eyes toward Rahas. "Rahas, you've got a package."

Rahas immediately felt a sense of impending doom. "What?"

Reaching behind him, Axel revealed a gift box that was tied with a suspicious red bow. He lifted it toward Rahas, that slightly disturbed expression back on his face. His next words explained everything. "Simmons left this for you."

"Another gift?" Lynus questioned as Rahas found himself bristling once again.

"What am I supposed to do with that?" he hissed, making no attempt to take the gift.

"Eat it, apparently," Axel unhelpfully supplied, tossing it toward Rahas, only for Lynus to catch it instead. "It's chocolate."

The ever mother-hen, Lynus inspected the gift chocolates and shook his head. "They're quite expensive," he murmured before turning to look at Rahas again, much like a mother would do to a child that was obviously hiding something. "Rahas, are you sure-?"

"I don't know what that idiot is planning!" Rahas shrilled as he snatched the chocolates from Lynus' hold and shoved them under the same arm that was carrying the roses.

Lynus pressed his lips tightly into a thin line. "I'll go have a talk with him."

He turned on his heel, ready to head out into High Lagaard in search of the brainless landsknecht. However, as if only to cause Rahas even more humiliation, Simmons was there, standing just out the front of the inn, talking brightly with Hamza, of all people.

Before Rahas could reach out to Lynus, to tell him not to bother talking to that block head, Lynus had strode forward, approaching the two taller, older men. Simmons continued to look like an oblivious puppy while Hamza offered Lynus a curt nod, his lips threatening to twitch into what could only be an amused smirk.

What was that brainless bastard telling that superior bastard?

"Ah, Simmons, good. While I am sure you have good intentions, but could you explain to me why it is that you are showering Rahas in gifts?" Lynus asked, getting painfully to the point. He also said it with a sense of terseness in his voice, that everyone in the vicinity stopped what they were doing to watch Lynus in his infamous mother-hen mode.

Unfortunately for Rahas, a few of those people happened to be his teammates…

Could his day get any worse?

"So I can become stronger!" Simmon replied to Lynus' question without hesitation.

Lynus had an expression that he should have expected that. "...And how do flowers and chocolates do that?"

Simmons huffed and folded his arms over his chest. "I have it on good authority that in order to become stronger I need to first court Rahas. Once I have courted him, I will become stronger," he said as he nodded his head sagely.

"Courting...?" Lynus murmured before his eyes grew wide in realisation and his hand flew up to his mouth. "D-do you know what courting means?"

Simmons unfolded his arms and planted his hands on his hips as he grinned broadly. "Nope!"

Lynus' shoulder slumped in disbelief. "I didn't think so…"

Rahas wasn't entirely sure just what the hell was going on, but he certainly didn't like it. "Who told you this shit?!" he demanded loudly.

However, as soon as the words left his lips, he heard a very telling giggle. It wasn't a giggle of just amusement. There was a sense of utter smugness and expectancy. Ever since moving to High Lagaard, that was a giggle he had heard far too often.

Rahas snapped his head up toward the sound of the giggling, immediately spying a couple of pink-haired girls standing at the top of the stairs, seemingly have witnessed the entire thing. They weren't the only ones standing there, but they were the ones that caused Rahas to see red.

Immediately, Rahas knew who the mastermind behind everything was. "Binah!"

Far from intimidated, Binah smiled wildly. "Yes~?" she sang.

"What the hell did you tell this idiot?!"

Binah just laughed in triumphant. She, however, stopped when Lynus appeared, standing next to Rahas to look up at the stairs as well. Binah, along with everyone else standing there, immediately looked away, looking at everything but him. After all, no one wanted to see their mother wearing an expression of confusion and potential disappointment.

"Why would you do something like this?" Lynus asked gently, not in a demanding way, but in a way that suggested that it would be best if the truth was known. Now.

Binah huffed, puffing her cheeks out in a childish manner. "Because we think Rahas needs some love as well!" she boldly answer, folding her arms across her chest and nodding her head in an also rather sagely manner.

Rahas spluttered lightly, his cheeks heating up in an embarrassing blush. "W-what?"

Lynus blinked a couple of times in silence before smiling warmly, in an approving way. "That's very sweet of you, Binah."

"I know!" Binah grinned.

Rahas winced and looked away, unfortunately turning his eyes in Axel's direction, the redheaded landsknecht having remained silent the entire time. Which was a little unnerving, since he was Simmons, er, 'rival' or something.

"No comment from you?" Rahas hesitantly asked.

Axel blinked before shaking his head, surprisingly no mirth in his eyes. "Oh no, I am more than supportive."

Rahas immediately narrowed his eyes at him in a suspicious way. "...Why?"

Finally, a smirk appeared on his lips. "Since he's following you around he'll leave me alone."

Once again, Rahas bristled wildly. "I figured as much!"

"So this is what Hamza meant when things needed to be found out on their own…" Macerio murmured, more to himself, then anyone else. He did say it loud enough, however, for everyone to hear.

Hamza coughed into his hand, as if to cover up a snort of laughter before straightening himself and turning his attention to Simmons, who had been standing silently in the background the entire time. "Ah, Simmons, you do realise that if you wish to court a member of the Guardians, you will first have to complete a series of tasks."

Simmons immediately perked up upon hearing that. "Will it make me stronger?!"

Hamza continued to smile. "Indeed."

"Gah! You assholes are having way too much fun with this!" Rahas shouted before stomping his way past everyone in the audience to his room, the roses and chocolates still held tightly in his grip.

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