The Story Continues

He's Not That Bad…

Rahas was feeling edgy. He had gone half a day without having to fend off that idiot Simmons and shoot down his declarations of being his personal bodyguard in order to become stronger. Most days he had to do that two, three times a day. Sometimes even in the labyrinth, that useless lug would appear, protecting him from a menacing horde of treerats.

And he would always, always do it with either Macerio or Hamza nearby to witness the entire thing. He could deal with Macerio's near hysterical laughter of pure amusement. Hamza's amused little smirk, however, really pissed him off.

"Rahas?"

Rahas nearly jumped a foot in the air before spinning around, half expecting to find that blue-haired lurker standing there in a heroic stance. However, much to his relief, the person who called his name was none other than Lynus, the orange-haired medic looking at him with mild concern.

"Are you all right?" Lynus asked him. "You've been very edgy today."

"I'm fine," Rahas automatically replied, his natural instinct was to not cause Lynus any concern. Although, he wasn't the least bit surprised that Lynus noticed him twitching and wincing at every sound.

Lynus gazed at him for a moment, his violet eyes gently searching for any physical signs of distress or trauma before he unexpectedly tilted his head to the side ever so slightly. "Are you missing him?" he asked gently.

Rahas immediately bristled. "Why would I be missing that idiot?" he practically hissed. He would have snarled viciously if anyone else had asked him that, but since it was Lynus, he wouldn't do that to him.

Lynus just smiled that gentle, pretty smile of his. "What idiot?" he asked him.

Rahas froze. "...Who were you talking about?" he asked hastily.

A soft, almost airy laugh escaped Lynus' lips and he straightened his posture, his hands toying with the strap of his medical bag. "You're looking for him."

"No I'm not," Rahas said as he folded his arms defiantly over his chest before quickly glancing over his shoulder when he thought he heard a noise.

"Simmons' not here at the moment," Lynus went on to say, that smile of pure understanding not faltering for even a moment. "He's in the labyrinth with his guild."

Oh, that made sense. Simmons hadn't popped out of nowhere with the exclamation of feeling himself becoming stronger. And he hadn't seen him or his guildmates around anywhere. Not that he was looking. He certainly wasn't looking for that simpleton in the way that Lynus had delicately suggested. Not a chance in hell.

Still, he was kinda pissed that Simmons didn't inform him of that earlier. O-only because he would have been able to enjoy his day better.

"Well, I'm off to the hospital," Lynus said after an awkward moment of silence. "If Simmons and his guild turn up, like they usually do, I'll let you know."

Rahas huffed. "Like I care what happens to them."

"Of course," Lynus said as he continued to smile before turning on his heel and heading in the direction of the hospital.

As Rahas watched Lynus leave, he couldn't help but feel that their conversation had somehow left Lynus with the impression that he actually cared what happened to Simmons and that guild of his. He didn't, of course. He had other things to worry about. He certainly didn't enjoy the attention that Simmons gave him.

Or the chocolates.

Or the flowers...

Abruptly pulling himself out of his unreasonable train of thought, Rahas visibly huffed and headed toward the bar. Hamza had decided to give the guild the day off after a few tedious days of mapping a few floors of the labyrinth. Apparently, though, Lynus didn't understand the term of 'the day off'. No doubt that Axel was already making his way to the hospital to drag him back to the inn.

"Well, hey there, beautiful," an unfamiliar voice slurred the very second he stepped into the bar.

Automatically, Rahas glanced toward the sound of the voice, spying a roughly dressed and shaven man who had a glassy look in his eyes and a slight drunken droop to his shoulders. Rahas narrowed his eyes at the guy before glancing around to see who he was talking to. It took him a second to realise that the guy was talking to him.

Great. Just what he needed.

"Ah wouldn't mind yer tying me up in knots," the guy garbled at him.

The bad thing about being a dark hunter? Random people think you're into really kinky shit. It didn't help that names of some of their skills were more than a little...scandalous. Apparently, being a dark hunter meant he was free game to horrendous and downright vile pick-up lines.

Rahas rolled his eyes and tried to ignore him. While no means utterly gorgeous, he had received more than his fair share of drunken pick-up lines. Par for the course when you were a dark hunter.

The guy followed him to the bar, leaning haphazardly against it in a drunken stance, keeping his unfocused eyes on Rahas as he ordered a drink from Cass. Rahas was solely tempted to use his whip on him but he had promised Lynus (and reluctantly Hamza) that he wouldn't use his whip in town unless it was a real emergency.

"Think yer too good for me, eh?" the guy accused him.

…Maybe he could punch him in the face?

Better yet, have someone else do it.

Simmons…Where was that idiot when he actually needed him?

No, wait...why was he even thinking about that big lug of all muscles and no brains?! He should be happy that he has a moment's peace away from the idiot!

"Rahas!"

Rahas was momentarily pleased (and relieved) to hear and then see Simmons, but he quickly pushed that aside.

"Punch this idiot in the face for me," Rahas ordered the second Simmons was close enough.

Simmons glanced over at the drunken guy before looking back at Rahas, a look of curiosity on his face. "Why?" he asked.

Rahas frowned. "Because I asked you to," he replied simply.

Simmons seemed to take a moment to mull over his words, probably wondering if he actually should and whether or not he would get in trouble when the drunkard staggered away from the bar, seemingly ready to fight.

"Yer nothing but a trashy bitch anyway," he mumbled.

The very second those almost incoherent words tumbled from the drunkard's mouth, a look of mild anger appeared on Simmons' face; his eyes narrowing and his lips pressed together in a thin line. Then, before anyone had the chance to react, Simmons reared up his right arm, pulled it back slightly before punching the guy right in the middle of his face.

In a spray of chipped teeth and specks of blood, the unnamed and unknown explorer hit the floor of the bar - hard. He didn't bounce. No flailing of limps. No string of curses. He dropped like a stone. And was completely unconscious.

Rahas had to admit to himself that he was somewhat impressed.

"How's that?" Simmons asked as he turned around to face him, looking for his approval.

So Rahas gave him a thumbs-up. "Perfect."

Simmons practically beamed at that, probably not used to praise from another person. So…

"Hey, Cass, get him a drink," Rahas said as he jabbed his thumb in Simmons' direction. "On me."

Giving the lug a free drink was only a reward for getting rid of that guy. It wasn't because he wanted to have a drink with him. It was only because of his previous distraction why he hadn't finished his own drink. And Cass wouldn't let someone leave the bar with their drink.

S-so he was only going to stay until he finished his drink.

"Can someone roll that idiot into the recovery position?" Cass ordered as he served up Simmons' drink, the blue-haired landsknecht seemingly happy to be able to have a drink with Rahas.

As Simmons sat next to him, practically glowing, Rahas folded his hands under his chin and rested his elbows on the bar. He couldn't help but think that maybe the brawny swordsman next to him would prove to be useful to him in the future.

Before Rahas could let his mind wonder down that trail of thought, a hand suddenly clasped his shoulder, causing him to tense when he felt someone lean over him. Immediately, he glanced up only to feel himself twitch when he locked eyes with none other than Hamza.

"Rahas," Hamza said as he squeezed his shoulder. "I certainly hope that you're not planning to have Simmons punch out every single person you don't like."

The bastard must be able to read minds…

"I can't read your mind," Hamza said, his hand squeezing Rahas' shoulder even tighter. "You're just predictable."

…What an insult!

Rahas simply hissed lowly at him, bristling wildly. That, of course, only caused Hamza's smirk to become somewhat smugger, irritating Rahas even further. However, before Rahas could counter in some way, Cass had set the drinks down on the bar that Hamza had ordered, prompting the war magus to take the two drinks, sent Rahas a look that was both firm yet shimmering with amusement and walked away. Rahas could only glare after the oh-so mighty war magus as he walked over to a silver-haired troubadour.

Silently seething, Rahas turned his attention back to his drink. Simmons was still sitting next to him, appearing blissful and unaware as always. Rahas had to admit; he wasn't a bad guy.

Stupid. Oh, so incredibly stupid, but not bad.

His other flaw would have to be his obsession with trying to fight Axel. The red-haired landsknecht would kick his ass each and every single time, so why bother to keep trying? Was he hoping to get lucky? Besides, if Simmons even managed to land a blow on Axel, actually hurting him, Lynus would never, ever forgive him.

"Hey," Rahas said to the blue-haired landsknecht next to him. "Why are you always trying to fight Axel?"

"So I can become stronger!" Simmons answered in his usual boisterous way.

Rahas rolled his eyes. That was his answer to everything. Everyone wants to become stronger, but this idiot seemed obsessed with the idea. "I mean, why do you want to become stronger?" he asked, pushing back the slight tang of irony in his mouth.

For a fraction of a second there was a look of pain in Simmons eyes, the expression catching Rahas completely off guard. However, Simmons soon plastered that goofy smile of his back of his lips, returning to his oblivious and simple self.

"So I can control it," he replied simply, rather quickly, before reaching for his drink, throwing his head back and taking a large gulp.

Simmons' demeanour and that expression in his eyes left Rahas mildly stunned. What did he mean by controlling it? What was 'it'?

As Simmons sat perched on the bar stool, he looked almost like that of a happy but restless puppy that was more than delighted to be allowed to sit next to him. He looked oblivious and carefree at the moment, but that look he had...

Hmm, Rahas thought to himself as he took a sip of his own drink. Maybe there was more to the brainless oaf then appearance...

… … … … …

Meanwhile, in a certain little corner of the inn, three individuals gathered, two with telling pink hair, the other with short, black hair, hovering an inch above the ground.

"And then he proceeded to buy Simmons a drink," Kerri explained the day's events with a stoic stare. "Sitting together at the bar."

Binah nodded her head before smiling somewhat triumphantly, placing her hands on her hips. "Finally, we're slowly getting there," she said.

"Yes, things are progressing nicely, it seems," Kerri added.

Binah continued to grin, already planning future events. Just you wait, Rahas, she thought in a totally not threatening way...

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