The Story Continues

The Shy One

Magnus watched as a red leaf gently twirled through the air, gracefully landing in the palm of his outstretched hand. He cautiously and carefully picked up the leaf, idly twirling it at the stem with his fingers as he glanced around the red and golden hues of the second stratum. His attention soon fell upon his current teammates as they took a quick break from their menial task of material gathering.

Axel and Lynus were a few yards away, talking and…cuddling near the mine point they had been requested to sample. They were adorable and affectionate, as usual. And a few feet away from them was Chi-hung, the white tiger flicking his tail in a somewhat amused, playful manner.

Ignoring the slight twinge of jealousy that appeared in his chest, Magnus’ gaze soon fell upon the powerful form of Shen, who of which was keeping a firm lookout at their surroundings. There was no distaste in his gaze; he, too, found the golden hues of autumn that the second stratum flourished to be beautiful and awe-inspiring. He was simply keeping a gaze out for any threats, be them small or large.

Pressing the leaf against his lips, Magnus couldn’t help but allow a feeling of envy and dissatisfaction to wash over him. He wished, secretly and silently, that he and Shen could be…more than teammates. As in…like Axel and Lynus.

Upon that thought, Magnus felt himself blush fiercely. Being held by Shen in the same manner that Axel held Lynus was too much. He wanted it, certainly, but to think about how unlikely it was hurt.

He couldn’t help but wonder, though, what it would feel like. To be wrapped up in a loving embrace…


Unwillingly, Magnus uttered an ‘eep’ like noise as he pulled himself out of his thoughts. He turned toward Shen, finding the dark-haired ronin looking at him with a curiously…intense look on his face.

“Are you experiencing a fever?”

Magnus felt himself blush further as Shen’s deep voice resonated through his ears. He shook his head in response, not trusting his voice not to quiver, keeping the soft, malleable leaf against his lips.

“Then what is it?” Shen asked him as he took a few steps toward him, to stand in front of him.

Magnus didn’t want to answer, didn’t want the older ronin to know what kind of foolish thoughts he was thinking. He, however, found his mind unexpectedly stilling when Shen frowned slightly. His lips were slightly chapped and dry, the corners of his mouth with slight wrinkles, as if he had pulled too many frowns during his life.

Wordlessly, and without much thought given, Magnus removed the red leaf from his lips and…pressed the leaf against Shen’s. On the side of the leaf where his own lips had touched.

Immediately, Magnus’ blush deepened further as Shen’s eyes widen in surprise.

“I’m sorry!” Magnus yelped as he dropped the leaf and scurried back a few steps, feeling dizzy by the heating sensation rushing across his cheeks.

Having heard Magnus’ squeak, Lynus and Axel moved away from each other and turned to look in their direction. Magnus said nothing as he rushed over to Lynus and wrapped his arms around him in a hug as he desperately buried his far too flushed face against his neck in an attempt to hide his embarrassment.

“Ah, Magnus?” Lynus immediately questioned in concern as he placed his arms around him as well. “What’s wrong?”

Magnus shook his head. He couldn’t answer that. It was too embarrassing!

“Shen?” Axel could be heard questioning. “Could ya stop head-butting the tree and tell us what happened?”

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