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 Dangerous Dragons! ( Quest Line ) ( Completed! )

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Matt Eria

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PostSubject: Dangerous Dragons! ( Quest Line ) ( Completed! )   Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:16 am

Dragons.

While Spira had its fair share of fiends and monsters, he couldn't say there were many dragons that roamed the wild. There were Fiends in dragon form, of course - but nothing so grand and majestic as the dragons from the mountains. Creatures so fearsome, so predatory, that it took a whole breed of human who took to the skies to fight them off. The legendary Dragoons - men and women who could soar almost like dragons themselves into the sky. It was beautifully poetic, in one way, and tragic in the other. Since the reign of the Dragoons, it seemed that most of the dragons had been exterminated.

So when he got wind of the fact that Dragons were running amok in Mysidia? Well, Matt couldn't help himself. He had to go. Who knew..? Maybe he'd get lucky and find a Dragoon's Memory sphere?

Either way, he'd basically begged Carmine to let him go - she was still the boss, and called the shots. But when he set his mind to something, she knew that nine times out of ten it would be better to let him do whatever it was that he wanted - and she'd profit in the long run anyways. Could anyone really blame him for wanting to check out real dragons?

It took a lot of finagling to get himself a transport over to Mysidia - specifically, to Baron... but it wasn't anything he hadn't done before. There was just an extra hoop or two, as the people in the Mage's court had a tendency to frown on people who weren't mages entering the land so near their tower. Still, he could prove himself to be at least a novice when it came to the craft - so it wasn't like he was a total dunce.

So long as they didn't ask him to read any spells or something.

He made it through the journey in a completely uneventful way. The air in Mysidia was still - as if things were terrified to disturb it. Matt, however, did not mind at all. Once off his boat, he found a place to get changed - hiding away from any particularly prying eyes. On the boat, he'd deigned to go without his mask - but now that it was time to meet with the people he would be getting paid from? Game face had to be in full effect.

Matt firmly attached the mask to his face, the feel of the hard surface making him feel that much more confident. though he could see perfectly through the little slits, no one else would be able to pick out his eyes from behind them. The mime's face was perfectly neutral, as it usually was - fitting the exact theme he wanted to go with. He unfolded his coat and slipped it on one sleeve at at time, buttoning up the center so that his chest would not be exposed.

The coat offered him little protection, but he liked the way it felt on him - plus, as he'd explained to the courier girl, it helped inform people of what he was there to do. There would be no mistake - he was clearly someone who was not to be messed with. Tightening the gloves around his fingers, he glanced around, satisfied with the fact that he'd finished the 'transformation' with little muss. His travel bag was stored away, slipped in to one of his pockets, where he wouldn't have to worry about it falling out, or making too noticeable an impression.

Without much hesitation, the Sphere Hunter left his little hiding place at the port, and made his way further inland, his mind running over the possibilities.

From what he understood, Dragons were massive, had nearly impenetrable scales - razor claws and teeth, and an ability to fire their primary affinity from their mouth. That was vaguely familiar to him - he focused on that train of thought, though it lead into one of the tighter brambles of his mind. One thing people didn't understand about the way his abilities worked - he was not in perfect unison with the Memory Spheres he absorbed. Some took time to fully integrate - and as far as he could tell, he hadn't found one that wouldn't. Luckily, though, it just took time and use to get it right.

As he entered the Kingdom proper, one thing he noticed was the distinct lack of foot traffic. In the distance, he could see the Mage's tower - but he expected more around than he got. He made his way to the Court - where he knew someone would be sending adventurers like himself off to slaughter. That was what kingdoms did. Until someone got lucky, or was skilled enough to solve the problem, they had no issue with sending wave after wave of men and women to die.

So it was, he was met with a leathery old man - someone he'd be afraid to touch in case he tore open the man's skin by accident. Tiny spectacles were worn on the very tip of his nose - to the point where the white haired man had to lean his head back a little to utilize them.

"Ah. Ah ah! Are you here for the dragons?" The old man asked, his voice nasal and - plainly - annoying. "Ah. Yes, of course you are. Come, come, my masked friend, come inside and let us get a look at you."

Matt was... well, not really sure what was going on. Who needed a look at him? Didn't they just needed to tell him where to go, so he could put a few dragons down? Still... they were paying him ( or would be, when he was through ) so he had little choice but to follow along as instructed. His boots made an echoing crack on the hard tile floor with each step, whereas the toddling old man in front of him seemed to make no noise despite the shuffling of his feet.

The hall itself was adorned with small glowing lights - not torches, persay, but almost like spheres. Not the same... but there was something spectacularly interesting about them. Matt was silent, despite his urge to ask questions.

Finally, the elder man stopped at a painted red door, and rapped twice on it. Matt waited - until finally, it was opened. The man on the other side of it was... breathtaking. Matt was almost taken aback by the sheer beauty of him. His face was perfectly proportioned, with a jawline he was fairly certain the man could use to cut diamonds. He filled out the odd purple robes to a t - though the flowing hems at the bottom gave little to Matt as far as his legs were concerned.

Still, Matt watched the blond give them both a once over, otherworldly blue eyes surveying the two.

"Go in, go in. We have to make certain you're ready. Nicolau here will help you." Again, Matt felt himself wanting to object - the sphere hunter was being jostled around by the odd orders of the caretaker. Before he had the chance, however, the caretaker was already waddling down the hall, leaving him and the man he was hard-pressed to take his eyes from.

"Come in." Nicolau's voice was soft, but deep enough to make Matt almost envious. He nodded once, and passed through the doorway, which was closed inaudibly behind him. "My apologies for the odd manner of treatment. We try to limit the loss of life as best we can, and do not believe in sending people off to die if they have no chance. I will be taking a look at you."

Bringing up a gloved hand to run over the back of his head, Matt nodded. "All right. What do you need from me?" He asked, uncertainly.

Nicolau stepped away from him, and he noted the lack of sound there, as well. Was he the only one capable of being noisy in this place?

"It is an enchantment. People who call this place home make no noise unless we choose to. It helps us identify who belongs and who does not." Matt looked stunned, though that fact would be hidden by his mask - thankfully. The blond stepped up behind a chair - upholstered wood looked quite inviting - as though comfort was expected for whoever was seated there. Cheap chairs were easy enough to pick up, and rarely wasted on traveling guests.

"Please have a seat, and I will explain." The man tapped the back of the chair, and though Matt felt discomfort creeping up his spine, he did as he was asked, settling in the ( admittedly comfortable ) chair.

"What now?"

"I am a descendant of the Dragoons. What most do not know about us, is that along with our talent for aerial combat, we developed unique psychic abilities. It allows us to tap into other people's minds. Normally, it is very difficult - but I have dedicated my life to the study of it. I lack the other skills of a dragoon. Still, I serve my land in another way." He placed hands that felt unusually warm to Matt on the sides of his face.

When he felt fingertips touch his mask, he almost reached up and slapped them away. Instead, he held the arms of the chair tightly, as the gentle touch traced around the edge of it. "I wish to see your face. It is customary - but if you do not wish to remove the mask, that will be acceptable." The Sphere Hunter's stomach twisted in knots. No one had asked him to remove his mask before. Would it matter, if the man could peek into his mind?

He gritted his teeth, jaw set, and reached up. Letting out a quiet breath against the back of the mask, he slipped it off, reaching to put it in a pocket. Soft hands reached out and took his hand, steadying it. Carefully, the mask was taken from him, and set on a small table next to him.

"It is a pleasure, Ale-" This time, Matt's hands did reach up, covering the other man's mouth. "No, Nicolau." He said, his voice holding the same touch of darkness that he knew resided in his eyes. "As you wish, Matt." The psychic took a few steps back, and brought a chair to match Matt's in front of the hunter.

He watched as the dragoon-descendant took a seat, though he could feel those blue eyes reaching in to his own. "How does this work?"

"Just relax. There won't be any pain. I just want to sample your experiences, to make sure you are equipped, mentally and physically, for what you're wishing to attempt." Again, the hunter let out a quiet breath and nodded, unblinkingly.

It was only seconds later that he felt something... unusual. His brows furrowed slightly - and so did Nicolau's. They were practically mirrored expressions... confusion at what was being seen or felt.

"You are not alone." Nicolau spoke, finally. "I do not understand... there are other people here... other lives..." Matt's jaw remained set, as he nodded. No, he didn't really want to explain the situation - but he wouldn't have to. If the other guy could see the fact that he had other memories absorbed into him, he could no doubt locate which ones were 'his' primary memories, and see what he'd gone through.

Silently, he waited for the realization to dawn on the other person, his own dark eyes remaining fixated on the ones that were looking inside him, rather than at him. Tension caused his shoulders to tighten just a little bit, as he let the other man rifle through his memories and experiences, hoping to find some shred of evidence that he could apparently go forward without a guarantee of death.

After several minutes of thick silence, he felt the foreign consciousness retreat, and the blue-eyed Nicolau blinked a few times.

"What you are..." He looked... sad. Not upset, just... sad. Matt couldn't tell why - it wasn't as though the other man had been through any of it.

"I do not wish to see you die. However - you have lifetimes of experience to guide your hand - so I shall give you the notice you need to proceed. I must caution you, though. Remember that it is not just you who will fall if you fail."  With that, the blond rose, reaching over to pick up the mask that had been set aside on the table.

For the first time in a long time, Matt felt as though he'd been laid bare for examination. In some ways, he had - someone had looked closer at him than anyone else ever had. Still, that wasn't the worst thing that had ever happened to him. He accepted the mask as was offered to him, and slipped it back over his face, careful to affix it properly again.

"I have to ask - please, don't say anything to anyone. I do not want the men who made me like this to find me." He said, quietly, from behind his mask. He watched Nicolau nod, once, a sharp affirmation of his request. He was glad for that - he had no will nor desire to have to return here to make sure it didn't happen. Not to someone like him.

"Then please, show me the way to go."

Silently, Nicolau frowned. "As you wish." He turned to the door, and opened it, before once again leading the masked Sphere Hunter down the hall he'd originally came from. It was eerie, sounding as though he was the only one moving at all. Still, they were moving, and he could finally get this mission started. Despite how unsettled he felt, Matt was unable to shake himself of his desire to press forward - to liberate this place from the creatures that terrorized it.

Or perhaps - just see a dragon. That'd be amazing in its own.

Nicolau reached the front door, and opened it before Matt. "Follow the path that leads into the forest. Beyond it is the cave where we believe the creatures are dwelling. Is there anything I can say that will prevent you from going forward with this?"

One of Matt's eyebrows lifted, behind the mask. Skepticism was starting to infiltrate his conviction. What reason did the blue-eyed man have to stop him? He'd seen his mind and nothing else. So... why? "No, I don't think so. Don't worry - I'll take care of it. I've seen worse."

Without giving him the opportunity to argue the point, Matt stepped through the door, waving casually behind him without looking. "I'll be fine. Just make sure you have my pay ready when I arrive." The little wiggling worm of concern that had burrowed its way in to his brain wasn't helping the situation at all.

Still, the path before him was clear - he knew where he needed to go, now, which was much better than it had been. He had a direction, he had a target. Or... many targets, possibly. He really should have clarified how many dragons there were... but he wasn't about to go back now and ask. If the rumor was 'mating season,' that meant there had to be at least two.

Maybe he'd get lucky?

Hell, maybe he wouldn't have to kill anything at all. Supposedly the oldest dragons could communicate with humans - which was how the Dragoons got their start, if the legends held true. Of course - that was the problem with legends - no one knew where the truth ended and the legend began. Still, it could be worse. He might have no information to go on whatsoever.

Nearly an hour passed, before Matt finally broke into the edge of the forest. Again, it was the subtle things that were throwing him off - despite being in a forest, there was no sound. That same strangled silence that he'd felt out near the docks he'd arrived at. It was like nothing could exist so close to dragons - and who knew? Maybe they couldn't? There were no greater predators greater than dragons...

Except maybe Sin. Or men. Either might take that title from a dragon.

Shaking his head, he crept along, subconsciously moving a little bit quieter as he did. If he was the only thing making noise in this forest, it would give him away to anything that might hunt noises. Humans damn sure didn't have the monopoly on silence.

It wasn't until he got deeper into the forest that he started to pick up the coppery scent of blood in the air.

Someone or something had either been wounded near here. That wasn't the safest thing to pick up on - it meant his guess about predators was correct. Quietly, he shifted his memories to his tried-and-true Black Mage focus, the perverted Caduceus warping into existence in a soft shimmer of light and metal. While unnecessary, the rod made him feel more comfortable - after all, the mage before him had used it.

Danger was looming - or at least, he was getting closer to it. Behind his mask, he felt the warmth of his own breath, and the perspiration on his forehead - this was closer to what he was expecting. The longer he walked, the more intense the scent became, until finally, he was certain he'd find a carcass soon. What he found... surprised him. The body of a man, not a beast - bitten cleanly through on one side.

There was no indication of life to him, and despite his own healing arts, he didn't think he could bring him back from this. By the time he restored him to life, he'd die again before he could heal his wounds, and he didn't think he could do it in reverse. It just meant that someone else who had passed the psychic's examination had failed. Success was by no means guaranteed - and this man had been clearly armed. There was a spear dug deep into the ground next to his body.

Letting out a sigh, he shook his head.

"What a waste..."

His voice was met with a quiet rumble nearby - the sound of thunder? But no, the sky was getting dark - but due to the sun going down, not storm clouds. He glanced around uncertainly, trying to spot the source of the noise - until he saw the movement out of the corner of his eye.

It was accompanied shortly thereafter with a roar that nearly caught him off guard. Had he not been tensed to move, he very likely would have been killed in much the same fashion as the man he was so close to, now. The reptile exploded from the woods to his right, and he was already in motion to avoid the swiping claws and furious teeth that clearly wanted him eviscerated.

His body went up into the air, landing for a brief instant on the lance, before using it as a springboard to vault over the monster's charge. It was a smaller dragon - it didn't even have wings, it looked like. Nevertheless, it was more than capable of eating him, so he did not hesitate.

Flames licked around the end of the rod, as he cast it forward, fire erupted from the tip - but there was more to it than that. It seemed surrounded by a halo of blue energy - and when the blue-and-red fire crashed into the monster, it let out a pained roar; The roar stretched out longer than one might expect, at slightly lower decibels, too. Slow magic had gone with the fire, managing to render the beast much slower than it might otherwise be. Landing with a solid thud, knees bending to keep his center of gravity low, the masked man looked at the dragon, which was still working on turning around.

Again, fire took shape and form, and he launched it at the waiting dragon - but, just like the last one, there was more to it. The air compressed around the dragon's front, just as the fire reached it - and the two separate magics collided, creating a far more violent explosion. The dragon was hurled backwards, crashing into a tree. Already, his mind was shifting - the weapon in his hand was breaking down into its component parts - after several seconds, the Variable Blade was clutched firmly in both hands.

Darting forward, he trailed the sword along the ground, kicking up stone, dirt, and debris as he went - the black sword taking on an almost brown hue as a result. When he reached the dragon, just recovering from the stun it had received, he swiped upwards, and the earth came with his blade, carving through the scaled monster's neck.

It let out a gurgling hiss as it died, and Matt took a step back, lifting an eyebrow behind his mask. This was the thing that was terrorizing Baron? Making everything and everyone tremble beneath its massive talons? Please.

He would have rolled his eyes - if it wasn't for the much greater roar that echoed out, easily shaking the ground beneath his feet, and causing a cascade of leaves to fall around him. He paused, and glanced at the tiny dead dragon.

Mating season.

Oh damn, had he just killed a baby dragon?

A second later, as if in response to his own internal question, there was another massive outcry, anger clearly conveyed. Damn. He had killed a baby dragon. This was problems on a scale he hadn't exactly meant to weigh against. After all, he had come here to take on terrifying monstrous creatures. The baby had been collateral damage, spurred mostly out of being startled and attacked than anything else.

Glancing around, he had a couple of choices to make. Run the hell away, or go find out if the thing that was roaring was really only wanting to yawn. Really loudly. His eyes landed on the lance, and after a second, he stepped over to it, and tugged it out of the ground. He had an understanding in this memory about how to wield it, though it felt less comfortable than the Variable Blade.

Still, it was better to take everything he could get his hands on, if he was choosing to follow the suicidal path.

Which, after a few seconds, it was obvious he was doing. The Sphere Hunter took off running - in the direction of the roar. Hopefully, no sane monster would think that something that killed your kid would be running towards it. Hell, he didn't know exactly what dragons thought about, but surely suicidal or homicidal people weren't on top of that list.

He reached what could only be the mouth of the dragon's cave, just as a very... very large head was sticking itself out. The cave mouth became literal mouth, as the thing opened its mouth wide, and a stream of blazing electricity crashed outward, accompanying its roar. Matt barely had time to register the danger before he was dodge-rolling to the side - scorched earth and leather leaving a very distinct scent to mix in with that of ozone.

Okay. Yeah, this was an issue now.

The thing's head reared back, as the rest of its body began to emerge - and as small as he'd thought the baby was? This thing was as big as several houses. Wings - slightly tattered, but still very functional, spread outward in a burst of wind that very nearly knocked Matt over. He drove the lance into the ground as he'd found it first, to keep himself balanced and standing.

It beat that way for several more seconds - and while it did, Matt shifted back to his magic-wielding Sphere. Though, not before he cast protect on himself, just to make certain he was as well off as he could be. Casting rod in hand, he took a few deep breaths. He figured - if it worked once, might as well try again. Fire and Slow worked in tandem, being launched from the twin snakeheads, until they crashed into the creature's snout.

Its head barely moved, and if the fire hurt it, it didn't register as such. The blue light, thankfully, did seem to suffuse the monstrous head, though, and he could tell that though it wasn't much, the creature was slowing down.

That is, until it looked at him, and the blue energy shattered. Another electrical assault shot out at Matt, and caught him full in the chest. His heartbeat was erratic, he could feel it as keenly as he could feel the burns that had easily eaten into his skin. It hurt. Not even a little bit.

As the creature took another deep breath, Matt swung his Rod out again, and Fire shot outward - crashing with a sphere of compressed air inside the beast's mouth. The combustion was enough to send the creature's head flying back, as though it had been hit by a dragon-sized fist.

But that wasn't going to stop it. It charged out, one of its massive claws swiping for the already-injured Matt. He hopped back, but was unable to avoid the entire thing. Still, thanks to the protection magic, his guts weren't on the floor - he was just a little bloody thanks to the exchange. Still a little bloody was a lot worse off than the dragon. He threw another slew of explosive Aero-Fire combinations, and even fired off a Slow-Aero just in case that combination might work.

Luckily, it seemed to have to take a few seconds to adjust to the slow before it could break out - and so he used that opportunity to Junction directly into his healing memories. His body felt weaker, yes, but with the staff clutched firmly in his hands, he felt a touch more confident.

With an unheard invocation, the ethereal clock wound forward, increasing his speed enough to avoid the next volley of sparks. The white light in the end of the staff did not falter, as he weaved Cura over his own head, the glittering green and blue sparks of life magic repairing most of the injury as it tended to do. Closing his eyes, he also made a quiet prayer, before holding the staff high overhead.

The prayer flowed outward, and paid dividends in return - his body felt whole again.

Spinning the staff around in a very un-white-magely gesture, he held it, aimed at the creature that was now staring at it as though it were... surprised. While he waited for the thing to move... it did not. It stood, stock still, watching him from a hesitant distance.

From behind his mask, he had to blink away beads of sweat that threatened to fall into one of his eyes. New thing - if he survived this, he needed to get something like a sweatband on the front of it. How embarrassing would it be if he died because of his sweat?

Was this some sort of...

You heal?

The voice practically knocked him on his ass. It was like thunder inside his skull, far worse than the roar from before. He let out a quiet, piteous noise, and nodded.

Heal small one. Will let live.

The words - though that wasn't right. It was more intention than words, came across clearly. The beast wouldn't lie - it didn't understand the concept of deceit. So it was being completely honest.

"No! That is not enough!" Matt yelled, loud enough to echo outward. "You must take the small one and any other dragons here, and leave this land! The people here wish for your death. I do not. But the little one attacked. I defended."

He hoped the intent carried through. He could hear that rumbling growl beneath his feet.

One century. Then return.

Well... Despite the brain-breaking migraine that threatened to destroy him on principle, he realized that was the best he could get. Dragons were effectively immortal. A hundred years from now, most of the people here would be dead - and he could leave a legacy of what he'd done - so that others would know the dragons would return.

"Agreed!"

He let out a little breath, and turned back the way he came from. Boots made little noise as he made his way along, mind racing. This... was bad. Well... okay. This was better than dying, which there was no doubt in his mind would happen if he tried to keep fighting. No wonder Nicolau did not want him to leave- he wasn't strong enough. Not really.

He reached the dead body of the thing. Honestly, he wasn't sure life magic would work on nonhumans... but there was no reason not to try. He took a deep breath, and focused on the sphere at the tip of his staff. Finally, the energy coalesced into a singular feather, that floated outward from the sphere itself. It landed on the dragon, and meshed with it.

He also began weaving the curative magic - the injured neck was well on its way to healing already, but there was no reason not to help it along. The dragon hissed and gurgled - and turned and ran in the direction of its... mother? Father? Mother, he had to guess. The healer followed along, body still accelerated by haste magic - until he was once again in the clearing.

The dragon - the large dragon, nodded once, reptilian eyes narrowed on him.

One Century. Then return.

Then, gathering the smaller creature in to its mouth, the huge dragon took off - and was almost immediately followed by four more creatures of varying size, though none quite as big as her. Yeah - he definitely would have died. No doubt about that. Matt slumped against the lance in the ground, using it as a resting place - because freaking ow. Despite the healing, the ache in his muscles wasn't gone. The superficial damage was dealt with, thankfully, but he'd still need time to recover from the exertion.

Perhaps Nicolau would be willing to distract him from his exhaustion?

After an hour of rest, he decided to investigate the cave. He was as good as he was going to get without a bath and a tailor... so there was no reason not to at least try and see what was going on in there. The sphere on his staff took on an ethereal light, as he pressed into the darkness, innocuous as it was - but there was a hesitation here.

This was wrong. This was their place. Not his.

Turning, he headed away, back to town.

___

"Ahahaha! We knew you were the right one to send! We saw the dragons fleeing! Surely you slew many, many of the terrorizing monsters." The little old man in his too-high voice congratulated him.

"Take me to Nicolau." Matt couldn't help but bite his words, to keep them terse. It wasn't that he disliked the man, on first glance... it was just that the man's voice made him imagine a grater rubbing against the outside of his head. It was painful.

"Ah... ah ah. Okay, I will do that." Though, the response was less enthusiastic than the rest of his words. Fair enough, really - it wasn't as though Matt was being particularly friendly to the all-too-absentminded elder. Two minutes later, they were outside the painted red door, and Matt was glad to see it open to reveal the very blue eyes staring back at him.

Those eyes gave him a once over - his tattered and burned clothes weren't helped at all by the healing magic, and the scrutiny made his cheeks redden. Again, thank everything important for his mask.

Curling his lips into a smile, he walked in through the door, as Nicolau invited him in, sealing the room shut behind him.

"You do not reek of death. Rather..." He leaned forward, and the space between them was startlingly absent. "Life. Show me everything."

The entire ordeal took only a few minutes in the chairs for him to ascertain - and a gentle smile touched at the man's face.

"You certainly scared the little one." There was a hint of admonishment in his voice, but Matt just nodded, glancing over at his discarded mask. "I did. It will know better than to try and eat a person in the future. Regardless of how he smells." He teased, and was gratified when the blond's face blushed as hard as his had only minutes before.

"They will return. But for now, there is calm. There will be peace. Perhaps that is what we need, to give us a better chance to understand the dragons."

Matt's eyes focused solely on Nicolau's, as something clicked. "You... didn't want me to kill the dragons."

Nicolau looked taken aback... but then finally, he nodded. "I apologize. My secrets are not usually the ones that are delved. It's true - I did not want the dragons to be destroyed. Though it seems impossible, given the number, they are actually close to extinction. My people - the Dragoons - were not just senseless murderers. There was a schism - many of us believed that we should not be at war with the dragonkin - they'd many a times helped us in the past."

Matt relaxed in the chair, though he was steadily removing his destroyed shirt and coat - he'd need to have them repaired before he left. But he nodded, to indicate he was listening.

"The Dragoons used to work in tandem with the dragons of old. We trained ourselves to leap as high as they, as a sign of respect. That... has been lost to the ages. I merely hope that in time... we can return to those ways. By offering them solace... and an opportunity to survive? You may very well have begun that transition."

The sphere hunter tilted his head. "Why not merely say that to begin with?"

Nicolau sighed, and ran fingers nervously through his hair. "I was not permitted until after you or any other successful hero found their way. It is my place to guide, not decide. Now come..."

Matt watched the other man rise, and step towards him. Removing his gloves, he accepted the offered hand, and used it to help himself up. "I will have your clothes repaired, and you will remain here for the night."

"Here?"

Nicolau smiled, coyly. "I am a mind-reader, Ale-- Matt."

He simply couldn't argue with that logic. Leaving his tattered clothes behind, he allowed himself to be lead to an antechamber that was already filled with water that released steam in a constant haze. "You will have your rewards, and tomorrow, you may return, richer for the experience."

It took them nearly three hours to finish the bath, before the two could finally lay down and rest.

Matt's thoughts didn't stray for even a second, as he quietly drifted off to sleep in the arms of a relative stranger.

( WC - 6023
Thread EXP: 602.3
Reward EXP: 1500
Reward Gil: 800
Bonus: 160 )

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