The Story Continues

An Old Friend

Lynus hastily made his way through the hospital corridors. He couldn't help but fear the worst when Darrell told him that his guild leader, Hamza, had requested his presence in one of the hospital examination room.

Easily locating the room, Lynus hurried inside, his concern easing a little when he noticed that the mighty war magus was standing up in front of the bed. He couldn't see any injuries on him. But maybe he had brought someone else with him?

"Hamza?" Lynus questioned.

"Ah, Lynus," Hamza said easily as he turned around, granting Lynus a small smile.

Lynus, however, couldn't help but frown. "What's wrong?"

"Hm? Oh, it's not me or any of our guild mates," Hamza answered as he stepped off to the side, revealing a silver-haired, rather dishevelled looking troubadour sitting on the bed. Lynus had never seen the man before. "Just Cedric here."

"Just?" The man on the bed sniffed in a mockingly pained way. "Hamza, you wound me."

"Not as much as you did, it appears," Hamza retorted with mirth before he turned back to Lynus, smiling slightly at the look of confusion on his face. "Ah, yes, excuse me. This is Cedric. He's an old friend of mine."

The confusion that Lynus had been feeling gave way to slight surprise. "Oh."

"Cedric, this is Lynus," Hamza continued with the introduction, turning his attention back to his friend. "He's our guild's talented medic."

"It's an absolute pleasure," Cedric greeted with a sense of cheerfulness, despite the way he was cradling his right hand with his left, keeping it perfect still on his lap. "I'm actually very fortunate to be tended to by Lagaard's most beloved medic."

Lynus felt a blush rush to his cheeks. "O-oh, I don't know…"

"Now, now," Hamza interjected with amusement in his voice. "You mustn't let a certain red-haired landsknecht hear you say that."

"Hm?" Cedric hummed, looking thoughtful before realisation appeared on his face, followed by a wide grin. "Oh, yes, the overly powerful one, yes?"

"That's him," Hamza all but smirked. "He's exceptionally protective of this one."

"I can see why!"

Getting over his initial shock, Lynus shook his head as he dropped his medical bag onto a chair. Despite the man's cheerfulness, it was obvious that he was injured. He looked ragged and dishevelled, and yet not in the same way one appeared after a battle in the labyrinth. A domestic accident, perhaps?

"So what can I do for you two?" Lynus asked.

Cedric smiled as he idly trailed his left thumb over his right wrist. "Learnt the hard way that I can't fly."

"He fell out of a window," Hamza answered bluntly, no doubt spurned on by the look of confusion on Lynus' face. "Had a little too much to drink."

"F-fell out of a window?" Lynus stuttered in surprise, immediately turning his attention back to the troubadour, giving him a thorough look over. He grabbed a stool and dragged it over toward the bed where Cedric was sitting, gently taking a hold of his injured wrist. He also paid special attention to his eyes, trying to subtle see if the pupils were uneven or dilated.

"You were always a light-weight," Hamza commented.

Cedric huffed and looked indignant. "I have no idea what you mean."

"In any case, you're not as young as you used to be," Hamza couldn't help but quip. "Perhaps it would be best if you hold back on your liquor."

"I'm 33, my dear Hammy," Cedric was quick to respond. "I'm younger than you, if I recall clearly."

Lynus blinked at the nickname 'Hammy' but opted not to comment on it. He couldn't help but wonder if Cedric was always this cheerful or was it a sign of something else.

"He didn't bump his head," Hamza suddenly answered, seemingly as if he had read Lynus' mind. But it was probably because he had anticipated the standard question. "It's the alcohol. He claims that he writes better love songs with he's, what they say, a little well-oiled."

"I was not sloshed, thank you very much!" Cedric insisted, pouting at Hamza, only to receive an amused grin in return.

And Lynus had to bite back his own grin. "I see. Were you there when it happened?"

"I was paying him a visit when he tumbled out the window, landing in front of me," Hamza explained before once again turning his attention to his silver-haired friend, unable to make a jest at his expense. "Nice form, by the way."

Cedric clicked his tongue. "Why, thank you, grandpa."

A look of mild annoyance appeared on Hamza's face. "Do not call me that."

"Oh, I see," Cedric perked up. "That Dark Hunter can but I can't?"

Lynus couldn't help but feel mildly surprised that Cedric seemed to know of Rahas. He had to be the Dark Hunter he was referring to. No other would call Hamza 'grandpa' and get away with it.

"That Dark Hunter most certainly can't," Hamza retorted before his eye twitched. "Little brat hardly listens…"

Cedric nodded his head in understanding. "That's what happens when you age, I suppose."

Hamza rolled his eyes before turning to regard Lynus, who had been silently inspecting Cedric while the two old friends bantered. "Well?"

"A fractured wrist, I'm afraid," Lynus replied as he absentmindedly trailed his fingers over the swollen skin on Cedric's wrist. "And I'm a little worried that he may have bumped his head when he fell. I'd like to keep him in the hospital for an hour or so. Just to be safe."

"I'll be wearing a splint, won't I?" Cedric asked, sounding a little disappointed, yet seemingly relieved that he received only a fractured wrist.

"For a few weeks, yes," Lynus supplied. "Are you right-handed or left-handed?"

"Fortunately, I can use both," Cedric answered with a sense of smugness. "A fracture shan't stop me from writing the most radiant of love songs."

"…That's good to hear?"

"I'm afraid that I will need to attend to something," Hamza said, almost remorseful. "I'll leave Cedric in your capable hands, Lynus. And you, Cedric, don't do anything to annoy or hinder Lynus, you hear?"

Once again, Cedric looked childishly offended. "I've never annoyed or hinder anyone in my life."

"Yes, yes," Hamza said with a nod of his head and a roll of his eyes before placing a hand on Lynus's shoulder. "Lynus; don't be afraid to belt him one should he get too rowdy."

Lynus laughed as he waved off the older man before gathering the tools and materials needed to properly bandage up a fractured and swollen wrist.

"Are you a local here, Mr Cedric?" Lynus asked as he perched himself on the stool and set to work.

"Hm? Mister? Aren't you a polite one?" Cedric commented before relaxing after Lynus cast a refresh spell and shrugged. "Well, yes, actually. I've lived here quite a few years now. Hamza and I, we used to be explorers back in the day."

That surprised Lynus somewhat. "Really?"

"Yes, ages ago," Cedric said with a sigh. "You will not believe the trouble he got himself into. Honestly, I have grey hair because of him. A worry-wart, he called me! The nerve…"

Lynus chuckled softly to himself. Hamza and Cedric sound like they were old friends indeed.

"Well, I've splint your arm," Lynus said as he finished tying off the bandage. "So try not to get it wet. Also, let me know immediately if you have any headaches or loss of vision, all right?"

Cedric chuckled as he cradled his bandaged wrist against his chest. "My, Hamza wasn't exaggerating when he said you were a devoted medic. Yes, I understand completely. He had warned me not to mess with you in your 'healer mode', as he calls it."

Lynus wasn't entirely sure how to feel about that…

"Well, I've got a couple of errands to do," Lynus said as he stood up and began to clean up. "So, if you need anything-"

"You're not leaving me alone, are you?" Cedric interrupted him.

"As much as I would like to sit around for the next hour or so, I can't," Lynus said as he gave the older man an apologetic smile. "Unless you want to follow me around as I-"

"That's fine!"

Lynus frowned. "Are you sure?"

"The only time I sit still is when I'm writing a song or playing my lute," Cedric stated before smiling charmingly. "I won't be a bother, I promise!"

Well, Hamza was expecting him to watch over his friend for him.

"Oh, all right."

"Oh, you're an absolute delight!" Cedric stated loudly as he hopped off the bed, more than willing to follow Lynus around.

… … … … …

Having Cedric following him around like a cheerful puppy as Lynus did a few errands around the hospital was a little distracting, but not as bad as it could have been. It was actually fun listening to him chatter about his songs and about Hamza. He seemed to love telling tales about the war magus, painting him in a less than perfect light.

"Hamza likes to pretend he's this serene and sophisticated war magus, an unflappable leader," Cedric said, his expression first childishly innocent before turning cheeky. "Between you and me, he's a right gossip. And a shit-stirrer."

Lynus couldn't help but laugh. "Really?"

"Really!" Cedric insisted. "He's told me all about the Guardian's exploits. He finds the whole Simmons/Rahas thing absolutely hysterical. Have you seen him after a drink or two? Never shuts up. Oh, and he wishes that Shen and Magnus would just get it together already. Honestly, I do too!"

Lynus was finding the whole conversation more amusing then he probably should. He didn't know whether Cedric was being 100 percent accurate, but it was still fun to hear him talk about Hamza. Lynus got along fine with the older man, but he didn't really know him well. Hearing someone talk about Hamza as something other than an unflustered and collected leader was somewhat refreshing.

It…It made Hamza seem human.

Besides, the thought of Hamza sitting at a table with a drink in hand, gossiping and complaining while Cedric was egging him on was just far too amusing not to consider.

"Next time you speak with him, ask him if he would like to lie in the field of flowers on the first floor," Cedric said as Lynus finished unpacking the new bandages and placing them into a handy to retrieve receptor. "Never thought a war magus would be scared of butterflies."

"If its venomflies, then I can understand," Lynus commented, suppressing a little shudder at the memories.

"Ah, there you are."

Speak of the devil.

Lynus turned to greet Hamza as he made his way over to them. "I take it everything is going well?" Hamza asked.

Before Lynus could answer, he received a slight poke in his side. "Go on," Cedric suddenly urged him.

Once again, Lynus couldn't help but smile. "I'm not asking him now," he said as he turned to regard Cedric.

"Now would be perfect," Cedric insisted, giving him a prompting motion with his hand.

Still smiling, Lynus turned to Hamza, the older man looking at him with a raised eyebrow and a somewhat…suspicious look. Lynus shrugged as he pulled his medical bag onto his shoulder. "What is it like lazing about in the field of flowers on the first floor?" he asked.

Hamza's eye immediately twitched and he snapped his head toward Cedric, whom of which was sniggering into his uninjured hand.

"Good god," Hamza said as he all but stalked over to the silver-haired troubadour, semi-glaring at him in an exasperated manner. "What in the world did you tell him?"

"Nothing but the truth, I assure you," Cedric said with a mockingly innocent and cheerful expression.

Hamza rolled his eyes. "Your version of the truth differs greatly from the actual facts."

"Did I blow your sophisticated leader facade, Hammy?"

"Enough with that dreadful nickname. Are you trying to cause trouble?"

"I could never take your place like that. "

"I have you know that I am 100 precent professional."

Cedric's laugh was loud, coming all the way from the pit of his stomach.

Lynus quietly exited the room, listening to the two old friends as they banter back and forth. They seemed like good friends. Although, he couldn't help but wonder why Hamza didn't enlist Cedric into his guild when the Guardians were just starting up. Having two seasoned explorers would made things so much easier for him.

Well, it was not his place to ask. The labyrinth, after all, wasn't for everyone.

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