The Story Continues

Subtly Protective

The bar was as bustling as ever. Explorers and adventurers merry as they drank their worries and pains of the labyrinth away for the night. No fights or brawls as of yet, but the night was still young.

Lynus wasn’t a drinker. He wasn’t fond of alcohol. Tea and juice were his drinks of choice. Cass of course would literally ‘tisk’ at him for his drinking preferences, but that was because tea wasn’t nearly as pricey as anything with alcohol was.

But Cass was grateful that Lynus would linger around the bar during the nights. A lot of explorers often didn’t realise how low their alcohol tolerances were and would pass out drunk, face down on whatever surface was the closest. Ever dutiful, Lynus would ensure they kept breathing. He was fairly certain that he had saved more drunks from swallowing their own tongues than he had saved lives at the hospital.

Cass and others also believe that his presence was calming, so was somehow able to defuse fights before they even begun. Lynus wasn’t sure if that was really true, but he was glad that there wasn’t as many fights as there usually was. Axel deserved to relax during these nights as well.

Tonight though he had another reason to linger around.

Axel was there as per usual; relaxing, catching up with a few explorers he knew, keeping the peace, and watching over the rest of their guildmates. And of him, of course.

But there was a man, about early twenties with reddish brown hair and brown eyes, who sat next to Axel and was trying to, well, cosy up to him for the lack of a better word.

Lynus wasn’t agitated that someone appeared to be obviously flirting with Axel. He was a handsome, intelligent, and an incredibly skilled landsknecht. A lot of people found him attractive. Rarely did a week go by that a newcomer in town would try to put the moves on Axel. No big deal. Axel would rebuff every single one of them and Lynus was polite in reminding or explaining to them that he and Axel were engaged.

But the man that was trying to pull Axel into a conversation was making Lynus feel incredibly uncomfortable for a reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Perhaps it was because of his body language; angled to face Axel directly, blocking virtually everyone else out as he slowly crept closer to him. And the drink in front of him.

Axel did his best to ignore the man as he spoke with another from across the table. Lynus on the other hand couldn’t help but watch him carefully from the corner of his eye. He felt a sense of deceit from the man. He was up to something. He was planning something. Something with extreme ill intent.

That was what he felt from him.

It was all well and good knowing that someone was up to something, but he truly wish he knew what that ‘something’ was.

Axel had finished his drink and set the glass aside and the man did the same. Lynus tried to continue his dutifulness of ensuring everyone was having a good time but was unable to keep himself from glancing over at Axel at every second. He felt more on edge right at this very moment than he had all night.

Again, there was that sense of deceit again.

He found himself staring as Cass wandered past the table that Axel sat at and picked up the two glasses.

“Two more lads?” Cass asked loudly.

“Naturally,” the man replied before Axel could.

Axel rolled his eyes but didn’t make any rebuttal.

Lynus obviously couldn’t hear what the man was saying to Axel, but whatever he was saying wasn’t anything too agitating to Axel. He would have told him in no uncertain terms to get lost by now if he was truly annoying. And that honestly made Lynus feel even more uneasy.

The feeling of deceit from the man felt natural around him. As if he had done whatever it was that he was planning before and succeeded.

As Cass returned with a tray of two frosty drinks, Lynus was pulled to approach Axel, to be near him. And he felt himself speed up when the man quickly retrieved the drinks from Cass. He twisted in his chair slightly as if he had a slight, subtle bit of difficulty balancing the drinks on the table. His hands unexpectedly hovered over one of the drinks before he issued one of them out to Axel.

But…

Lynus felt his stomach clench. The guy just slipped something into Axel’s drink. It was subtle and swift, but there was no mistaking what he had seen. He felt a surge of panic as Axel reached out to take the glass as if to take a sip.

Thankfully though a shout from across the bar caused Axel to instinctively pause and move his hand away from the tainted drink. He pivoted in his seat to turn around and look in the direction of the shout, no doubt expecting a fight to be either in the stages of beginning or had already begun.

When Axel turned to look so did the man.

Using this moment of distraction to his advantage, Lynus abruptly lunged forward and leaned across the table to switch the drinks around. He gave the deceitful man the drink he just drugged while he gave Axel’s the man’s untainted drink.

He pulled back and stood up a few steps away just as the two men turned back around. Axel reached for his drink again and rested casually back into his chair. As he brought it to his lips, Lynus’ eyes flickered over to that terrible man and felt his stomach clench in both fear and anger when he realised that the man was staring intently at Axel, watching with a slight smirk as Axel took a large gulp of his drink.

Seemingly satisfied, the man leaned casually back into his own seat and took a gulp of his own drink, completely unaware that Lynus had switched them.

Thank goodness for all the noise, the unexpected distraction, and the man’s cockiness.

As Axel pulled the drink from his lips he noticed that Lynus was standing next to him and looked mildly surprised.

“Hey,” he said as he placed his drink on the table and wrapped an arm around Lynus’ waist to tug him closer to him. “When did you get so sneaky?”

Lynus forced a smile on his lips as he stepped closer to Axel and wrapped his arms around his neck as he rested his head atop of his. “Not sneaky, there’s just a lot of noise here,” he said before he placed a kiss to Axel’s hair. “Are you relaxing?”

“Am now,” Axel immediately replied as he released his drink to instead take a hold of Lynus’ wrist and placed a quick kiss to his palm.

Axel had had a drink or two so he was feeling quite relaxed indeed. And will be a slight more affectionate. He was affectionate toward him in general, but more relaxed and carefree about it when he had a drink or two. Not caring who was around. And that was completely fine with Lynus.

He idly twirled a strand of Axel’s hair around his finger as he turned his gaze to the other man. Axel said something else, but Lynus didn’t quite hear it. He was too busy looking at that man.

And he felt a strange sense of satisfaction when he noticed that the man, the potential and cocky assailant, felt as confused as he looked. His eyes were glassy as he slumped back into his chair in a truly dazed and bewildered manner. His hands shook, though, and he was finding it difficult to stay upright. Internally he was panicking.

Lynus felt a frown tug on his lips. His reaction to the drug was swift. So that meant it was incredibly potent. If Axel had drunk it instead he would have been near incapacitated. Of course, just what the man wanted. He had no doubt planned to have Axel disorientated from the drug and then drag him out of the bar relatively unseen due to the bustling crowd. If no one saw a thing than no one would have been able to stop him. And Axel…

Subconsciously, Lynus tightened his hold around Axel and took a step closer to him. Axel noticed as he tilted his head back slightly to look up at him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

Lynus gave him a small smile as he turned his gaze away from the steady becoming more disorientated man and placed a quick kiss to Axel’s lips. “Oh, nothing. There’s a lot of drunks out tonight. Hope the hospital doesn’t become overrun with them. Dr Stiles would not be all that happy.”

Axel smiled and parted his lips to respond but fell silent when a loud and telling thud was heard. He frowned and immediately turned to look at the man who had been trying to flirt with him. He was face first on the table, the drink that had been tainted knocked over and spilling out onto the floor.

“Hey, the hell?” Axel muttered as he sat up straight in his chair.

“I’ll take care of it,” Lynus immediately volunteered as he removed his arms from Axel and slipped around the table to the man.

He placed a hand on his shoulder and gently rolled his head to the other side, the direction where Axel couldn’t see his face. The man’s eyes were wide open and he seemed to be mentally coherently, but unable to move. His face was significantly more pale, the colour drained no doubt from the fear. And disbelief.

What a terrible drug. Lynus didn’t want to imagine what he had planned for his beloved Axel.

And that thought alone angered him.

Lynus crouched down to his level and looked him straight in the eyes. He then whispered to him, “If you try anything, anything at all like that again to Axel, to anyone of my family; I will not hesitate to put my own brand of poison in your drink. And I assure you, it will be far, far worse than what you are experiencing now.”

The man’s eyes widened further and his mouth dropped open as if he wanted to utter something, a denial no doubt. But Lynus simply and calmly pushed himself to stand up straight. He placed a reassuring smile on his lips as he motioned for a guard from across the bar.

“I’m afraid he’s had too much to drink,” Lynus said. “Please take him to the hospital for observation. Tell Dr Stiles that I request a Code Yellow treatment. Of the highest degree.”

Although slightly confused by his request, the guard dutifully nodded his head and did as he was told. He reached out for the man, picked him haphazardly from under his armpits and proceeded to drag his limp, unmoving body through the bar, in front of a crowd of onlookers.

And as Lynus turned to look at Axel, he found him gazing at him with an expression of confusion on his face as well.

“Code Yellow treatment?” Axel repeated as he reached out to tug Lynus towards him once more.

“Oh, hospital code for drunk,” Lynus said dismissively as he easily slipped onto his lap and draped an arm along his shoulders.

As he settled himself comfortably against Axel’s chest, allowing his beloved to wrap his arms around him tightly in return, Lynus decided he wasn’t ready to explain to Axel what Code Yellow meant. He didn’t want to tell him yet that Code Yellow was actually a code word that medics use to document and deal with patients who tried to slip a drug into someone’s drink.

It was a code that only the staff at the hospital, Dr Stiles, and Cass knew. Cass was the one who actually suggested Code Yellow. As in yellow-bellied cowards, resorting to drugging innocent people. Quite accurate, really.

And everyone who had to deal with the aftermath knows that those yellow-bellied people deserved special treatment.

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