Another day, another request. That was how she was passing her time lately as she stayed in town. It wasn't the best, but she had to earn money to supply herself with the necessities she needed before she was to head for the next place. And that's where Weiss was, in front of the request board once more with her rifle on her back.
"...Maybe that one.." She's able to reach and take down a request looking for saffron, five to be exact. The reward looked promising and she could probably buy a few gels along as another room for the night.
Closed the book with a low thud, Andy placed it back into the pouch with a sigh. He was almost done reading and needed to find another to read, which means he need to visit a library soon. However this small village seemed to lack of a decent library. The thought of travel to another town for reading material gave him a headache. He turned to the nearby request board, thinking of getting a job to do before headed to the next town. "...hmm?" He noticed a petite yet familiar figure in front of it, "Isn't that..." He approached the hooded girl while gave a peek onto the parchment in her hand. "Huh...I thought you don't do this kind of request."
She blinked, turning behind her to see a familiar face. What was his name again...? Weiss tries to recall it as her mouth went to move.
"..I do..I'm just more use to hunting." Survival meant to find things on your own. While she was use to both, Weiss preferred hunting over gathering. Then again, the two go hand in hand together don't they. The smaller one looked around him,"..Is..that person not with you..?"
"That person?" Andy raised an eyebrow questioningly, "Oh, you mean Tsurumi-obaasan? She's in the orphanage taking care of the children." He sighed while waved a hand casually. "Thanks to you, she was mad when didn't see you come back to town and gave a decent shout on me."
Weiss stared at him, unsure what to think of that,"..Why would she shout at you when I did not return..?" It did not make sense to her. They were complete strangers to each other, so why worry about her? This fact didn't sit well with her as she continues to stare at him..her neck kind of hurting,"..Should I see her so she won't be angered with you then?"
"Of course you should!" Andy glared at her while crossed his arms in emphasizing, "Why? Because she is such a mother hen she is!" He looked aside, still looked annoyed, "Not just a shout, she had been nagging at me for failing to keep an eye on a lady!"
The girl didn't seem to flinch at his glare, only nodding,"..I'll take responsibility....where's the orphanage?" Weiss pondered if she gave him this much trouble. She'd have to clean it up regardless. That's what Xenon said, to clean up your messes..this was a mess..right?
"Follow me then," He turned towards the exit before tilted his head to her, "Don't forget that you need to finish up that quest, it's not polite to keep the client waiting." without waited for her response, he left to the outside.
"Ah..." Folding the paper, the gunner follows behind him like a lost puppy following the big dog. Well, she didn't know this town too well so..she was staying close so she wouldn't get lost...again.
Even muffled by the hairband, he could still hear the girl's footsteps behind her. Hints of hesitation could be heard from those footsteps, but not that he cared. Crossed the towns hall, he turned to a street leading to less populated area with more greenery scenes. "There is the orphanage, although that obaachan doesn't own it, she works as caretaker," He pointed at the medium sized house not far away with an open space in front, "Be warned, she is abit too troublesome."
"Troublesome...she doesn't seem like it." Weiss tried to remember about his companion, only knowing she seemed to caring for her own good,"..I'll be ok-" As she walked closer to the house, she ended up tripping over something before falling flat on her face,".......ow."
Andy merely facepalmed in response. "Is someone there?" two figures came out from the house hearing the sound - one tall dyr with long neck and a dyr child with pointy ear. "Baachan, someone fall down there!" The canine boy quickly approached Weiss before crouched down, "Are you ok?"
She nodded, slowly getting up and patting herself down as she checks around her as if making sure she didn't drop anything,"..Thank you." She gives a bow.
"Oh, you're...!" Tsurumi realized Weiss' appearance as she quickly approached her before gave her a big hug, "Thank god you're safe! I'm so worried about you!" "Your friend,oniichan?" The boy tilted head in curious before turned to Andy who walked in slowly. "She's not my friend, Shou, just go back to house," Andy merely scoffed in dismissal.
"...I...am..." Too close, way too close. She squirmed a bit in Tsurumi's grasp, specially trying to get her wings away from her lower back,"..I'm sorry for causing you and your companion trouble, Miss." Onii-chan? What did that mean? Speaking of which, what did baa-chan and obaa-san mean..? Were they titles?
"Oh no, not at all dear," Withdrew herself from Weiss, Tsurumi examined her in concern, "I was worried if Andy failed to keep you safe, or ditched you somewhere because he find it troublesome! That child should learn how to take care of others, geez!" "Andy-niichan meanie!" Shou pouted in response to Andy's dismissal before turned to Tsurumi, "Obaachan I going back to help out others! Oneesan you should come in too!" The boy smiled at Weiss innocently. Andy shrugged while turned to Tsurumi. "You're too busybody, you know?"
The poor thing was unsure what she was to do in this situation. Too much was going on already and the conversations going on at once seemed to put her out of the loop.
Leaving her to only nod.
"Alright, but be careful in the kitchen," Tsurumi petted Shou in a motherly manner, the boy nodded happily before headed into the house. "Andy, the lunch is about to ready so you give a hand would ya?" She stood up while turned at Andy, in which the pink-haired teen shrugged again before walking in as well. "Do you want to come in dear?"
Come in? Oh, she was inviting her. Weiss shuffled, tugging her hood lower as she thought about it. She probably shouldn't, she had a request to do and Xenon's reminders told her no.
But some of his reminders said yes..as did her own curiosity.
"...if..you'll have me."
"More than welcome!" Rested a wing on Weiss' back, Tsurumi urged her into the orphanage. Sounds of children giggling could be heard from inside, with a few of them ran on the corridor chasing each other. Upon closer observation the children has animal features - furred ears, wings, tails. "In case you don't know, this orphanage takes in children who lost their parents and homes due to reasons, and almost all of them are dyrs," Tsurumi walked ahead to the canteen, "I hope you don't mind them being abit too noisy, they are just kids after all."
Upon feeling Tsurumi's wing on her back, she tensed. Weiss would slowly move away from her eing..using the chance to look around the orphanage as an excuse. She seems to keep her hands to herself, looking around and examining the area around her.
"...There's a lot.."
Lost homes or families...how sad.
"These children lost their homes from bandits, monsters, or diseases," There was a tone of sadness in Tsurumi's voice, "Someone must take them in and give them a chance to live like everyone..." It was then two kids around the age of 5 stopped in front of them. "Obaachan, who is this oneechan?" One of them asked while the other tried to peek into Weiss' hood in curiosity.
What was this feeling..was it the same as sad? It must be of her heart felt like it was hurting...these poor kids..
...at least someone was willing to take care of them. Tsurumi seemed nice..no is nice. She was taking good care of them.
"..." She stepped back, pulling her hood over her head further. Too close...too close for her.
"It's rude to stare," Tsurumi patted the little girl on head gently, "Her name is Weiss, say hello like good child you are." The little dyr girl poked tongue playfully before both of them bowed politely, "Good afternoon, Weiss-neechan!" "Alright, go to canteen now," Tsurumi waved her wings to urge them to go, "Lunch will be ready shortly!" "Will you join us, oneechan?" the boy asked, eyes shone in anticipation.
"Ah..hello." Weiss also bowed in return, slowly catching on to the greeting and as such she would mimic it. The most greetings she's done before was just a wave or a nod..so this was indeed new. As for lunch...was it ok to join them? She was suppose to be doing a request. However..wasn't it also rude to turn down an honest request to join lunch.
"..Ah.." Her stomach growled, causing pale cheeks to go red,"...I..will."
"Yay! Let's have lunch together!" With loud cheer, the kids grabbed Weiss' arms and dragged her along. "Behave, you two!" Tsurumi gasped in surprise before scolded at them, who released their hands together, "I'm sorry about them being rude! We rarely have visitors here so they are sorta too excited..." the crane bowed at Weiss apologetically, "...hope you don't mind!"
She shook her head, looking at the kids as she fixed herr sleeves,"..It's ok. They're curious, aren't they? You can't help it..." This was probably the most she has talked since she met them. Maybe it was a good thing she was learning how to communicate but...
No..surely these aren't the people Xenon talked about...
"But..." Tsurumi was about to reply but was interrupted abruptly. "What took you so long?" With a familiar voice, Andy approached the group with a stoic look. He dressed in a casual interior outfit with an apron, but the bandana was nowhere seen, revealing his ears - elongated, pink fluffy ears. "The kids are waiting for you to start the lunch."
Weiss stared at his ears with curiosity..kind of tempted to poke at them, but that would be rude. His words snap her out of it as she starts walking,"..Yes...it wouldn't be nice to leave them hungry..right?" Maybe she can help since she caused so much trouble.
Andy casted a wary eye at Weiss before covered his head with the towel in hand, his ears hidden from sight. He almost forgot that she was in the orphanage and he couldn't let strangers see who he was. "Alright, everyone it's lunch time!" Tsurumi clapped to attract others' attention, the remaining children left their works on hand before headed to kitchen.
The kitchen was spacious with rows of tables and benches arranged neatly, most seats were occupied by children of various ages. "You can take the seats there," Tsurumi pointed at the nearby seat next to Andy who quietly sat down.
That look...it reminded her a lot like the one Xenon gave to those who tried to pry into their business. Perhaps he didn't like people staring at his ears? Yes..maybe that's it. Weiss wouldn't stare anymore as she places her hands on her lap..trying to get comfy but it was apparent she was trying really hard to not lean back.
The meal was served shortly - with a bowl of rice, a grilled trout, a bowl of pickled vegetable and a bowl of soup with white cubic matter inside. "Huh just average teishoku today..." Andy picked up the utensil - a pair of long sticks - but paused briefly as he glanced at Weiss, "...hey, have you been to Salamandra before?"
She stares at the sticks he used as well as the food with curiosity. The food did look good and smelled fantastic but..the eating utensils is what made her wonder how to eat...
"..no..I don't think so." She didn't know..or rather, couldn't remember
"These are chopsticks, a traditional utensil used in some areas of Salamandra," Andy picked up the spoon on Weiss' set and passed it to her, "Use this instead, it requires practice to learn how to use chopsticks." He then turned to a girl who helped in serving the meal, "get a fork for our guest here." The young girl with small white wings nodded in acknowledgement before left to kitchen. "...in case you're wondering, we are practicing Salamandran culture here thanks to that obaasan," He gobbled some rice down before continued, "Even some languages."
Small hands accept the spoon and thanked him before she too ate while he spoke. It was quite a flavorful meal and much more filling too since she last ate.
"I take she came from there..?" She questioned, watching him and the children eat.
"Yeah," Andy shrugged casually, "As far as I know, she grew up there before joined my family as servant."
"Servant..." was Andy a noble then? Weiss would just give another nod before she continued to eat. It was good food after all
"But it was long time ago," Andy trailed off as he continued his meal. A few children who sat opposite of Weiss stared at her in curiosity, their meals neglected.
Weiss noticed the stairs before pulling her hood down further before she continued to eat. This wasn’t good..at this rate, the kids would be asking about why she wears her hood wouldn't they.
Not to mention..she really needs to be careful none touch her back.
"Oneechan? Don't you feel hot with that hood on?" One of the children asked in concern. "Finish up your food and go play," Andy paused his meal and waved his chopsticks in front of the children, "Stop bothering her." The children merely "ohh" in response before continued their meals.
The hooded girl shook her head, before continuing to eat. She was thankful Andy managed to stop the kids before they got too curious for their own good. Being here..she felt too out of place.
"..Thank you for the meal."
"Gochisou," Andy finished up his meal as well while turned to Weiss, "Look, I don't know what you're trying to hide, not that I care. However, whatever secrets you're trying to hide, you did a bad job in it. It only brings more prying eyes on you."
He caught her off guard, making her jump in her seat. She figured already what she was doing wasn't a good job but...what else was she to do?
"...." she just gives him a nod as she stood up, collecting her now empty dishes.
"I don't care who you are - you don't smell like a Dyr to me," Andy collected up his dishes too with a straight face, "but as long as you never tell anyone that I'm part Dyr, I'll do the same."
"Of course I won't." She's fast to answer, looking at him in the eyes,"We all have our secrets. I won't share yours." They were both stuck in the same boat weren't they..
"..Where's the sink? " She asked, moving to find it and only to bump into the chair, cringing yet tries not to drop her plates. When she moves, a few feathers seem to fall from underneath her coat.
"Oneechan, let me help you!" The same little girl with white wings earlier approached Weiss with stretched arms, "We take turns in cleaning up the dishes, and you're our guest after all!" "Just let her take the dishes, or she won't stop pestering you," Andy passed his dishes to another young teen, "And what's these?" His eyes focused on several feathers on the ground before picked up one.
The hooded girl has no choice but to let the girl with wings do as she pleased, handing her the plates,"..If you insist." It felt bad but...perhaps it was for the best.
"What are-" She shuts up upon seeing the dark gradient feathers in the floor and no faster than a bullet did she try to pick them all up and shove them in her pocket. Alas, that only cause more to fall and she also did miss a few.
Andy raised an eye questioningly while looked at Weiss did her "stunt". Sighed, he picked her up by arm. "Remember what Tsurumi-baachan said? Most of the kids here are Dyrs, no one would judge you if you're one," He squatted down to pick up the scattered feathers before placed those into her hands, "No need to be flustered about it."
"...It's not that."
No, she wasn’t afraid of judgement. That wasn't a worry of hers at all. What she was afraid of was breaking a promise.
"...Someone asked me to hide them..for my own safety." She remembers being shown how to bind them and the times her hood was tugged to hide her face,"..I'm not afraid of being judged. "
She was afraid of breaking that promise..and finding out the consequences.
Still squatted down, Andy stared at her - although the hood hide half of her face - her conflicting hesitation and determination could be seen easily. "Don't tell me the reason then," he stood up before gave her head a gentle pat, "tuck those feathers in properly, you need to learn to be calm in situation like this."
She seemed...surprised. he was rather...calm about this? Her body tensed when he patted her head but, it felt nice. No, maybe because he thought she was a dyr...but she wasn't.
"...ok." Speaking of feathers, more fell as she moved,"...I have to fix it.." There's a sigh.
Stared the stray feathers on the floor, Andy gave another sigh. "Follow me," He gestured her to follow, "There's a small room nearby where you can fix your wings without being interrupted." Even though he wasn't an Ariadyrs, but he live with one long enough to know how important wings are, "Seriously, how do you not know about grooming your wings periodically?"
Weiss follows him as she picks up the feathers, shoving them in her pockets. This was...probably bothersome wasn't it.
..at least, he seemed kind despite his..harshness. As they made their way and away from the kids, she started to unzip her hoodie.
After a short walk Andy stood in front of a wooden slide door before open it. The space inside was small but enough for one person to move around freely. "Here, I'll stand outside to keep watch while you get yourself groomed," He moved aside while tilted head towards the room, "I'll make sure no one would see you, myself included. Go ahead."
She enters the room, already peeling off the jacket she had unzipped which resulted in more feathers falling. Should Andy catch a glimpse, he'll see exactly what she was hiding.
On her lower back was a pair of wings, a dark purple gradient that was wrapped and hugged her body. It looked rather painful to keep stuffed in that jacket of hers and even more so with how they were tied around her. Over the large scarf like wrap that must've hid the shape, there were belts that were also wrapped around.
And as what the hood revealed..where her ears should be were feathers, the same color as the low back wings.
Sound of feathers ruffling. Andy resisted the curiosity in peeking into the room as his pride forbid him to do so. Closed the door with a low thud, he leaned against the door while pulled out the piece of feather from his pocket. It was in a shade of purple, not as dark as the raven's - he assumed - and it wasn't feel like a feather that come from an Ariadyr. "Who are you actually?" He muttered quietly before shoved the feather back to his pocket.
It..was alright to tell him. Right? She prays Xenon will forgive her as she undoes the belts.
"..A regalia...that’s what I am." Her hands behind to stroke the wings, fixing feathers in place after letting them stretch,"..not a dyr."
Andy cast an eye toward the door in shock, as if looking through it towards her. A regalia? He met a few of these gorgeous people of this race, their wings that similar to sunset sky were quite mesmerizing for view. However he was very sure that there was no regalia with wings that almost as dark as night sky. "..." He casted his gaze away briefly, "Why are you telling me this?"
"...Isn't it fair?" Weiss straightened and fix her feathers, lettering her wings flex a few more times before she has them wrap around her body, "Now we're both holding each other's secrets." Was this a good idea..? It must be cause this was fair..and being fair was a good thing. Taking the large sash, she began to wrap it around her wings to hold them to her body.
"...!" Andy snorted, a smile rose on his stoic feature - a rare sight for anyone who knew him - as he crossed arms while closed eyes slowly, "Fair enough, I shouldn't underestimate you from your appearance."
A snort? Weiss looked at the door as she began to fix the belts, wincing at how tight they were. Unfortunately, she had to do it like that.
"You don't have to leave the room now," Andy knocked the door gently for her attention, his voice was low, “Although I do not know much about Regalias, but for whatever the reason is, it must be hurt to bind your wings tightly."
"Wouldn't the kids start asking where I went?" Weiss slipped her jacket back on after double checking the bindings. After zipping it up, she collects whatever feathers had fallen through the process and stuffed them in her pockets,"and children have a curiosity that can't be contained."
"Of course they would," Andy shrugged in response, "Technically they are curious because of the way you dressed up." Watched a few children ran past the corridor while giggling, he adjusted himself to sit cross-legged. "Bundled up almost incognisable."
Lost Soul - 10/26/2017
"Not as if i have a choice." She shrugged, her hands had pulled up her hood at this point before opening the door, “I’m settled. "
Noticed the door slide open, Andy glanced at Weiss before stood up. "Done already?" Stared at the small bulge around her pocket he raised an eyebrow, "Don't you want to dispose those feathers of yours before leaving?"
There's a nod as she shoves her hands in her pockets,"..I'll dispose of them elsewhere.." She can't leave any sort of evidence she was here..or else..."Don't worry about me."
"Huh," Andy tilted head sidewards in doubt but shrugged shortly, "Fine then, I lead you to the entrance. Follow me." As they headed towards the yard, Tsurumi walked out from the kitchen. "Leaving already?"
Was she leaving? Well, her stay was quite long..this wasn’t the longest she probably stayed at a place when she was invited.
"..Just for a bit."
Perhaps..it'll be ok to break a rule for once, “Just need to do something." Her hands grip the feathers.
"Ohh, Andy did mention something about your quest, yes?" Tsurumi smiled - as shown in her eyes - while approached Weiss before gave her a gentle hug, paid attention not to touch her lower back, "You're always welcomed to visit here, my dear."
"...I'll keep it in mind."
For their sake, she shouldn't come back. Her stay was rather long after all
"...Mission start.." She looks at the paper to see exactly what she was looking for again
"Have a safe trip!" Tsurumi stepped back while pushed aside the curious children to give way. Andy casted an observing eye at Weiss. "There is a saying in Salamandra: people depending on each other for living," he walked ahead, gesturing her to follow, "No man deserves to live alone, they say. This includes you." He wasn't sure why he had to tell her this, but he figured that he should. "If you willing to accept it, that is."
No one deserves to live alone...but what about for survival? What about the sake for others?
"..I'll...keep that in mind." She nodded as she gives a tug on her hood,"...is this a lesson you learned yourself. ?"
"Maybe? Who knows?" Andy merely shrugged, "If you coming back next time, maybe we can talk about it." As they reached the exit of the household, he patted her head gently, shoved her hood down in a playful manner. "Be careful out there, ya hear?"
Her eyes widen, instantly rushing to put her hood back up
Though, she gets the fact it was meant in a playful manner..or leash..that's what it was..right?
"..You..too." Weiss looks at Andy, trying to meet his eyes..but kind of hard when he was quite tall.