Lino spread his arms wide, angled slightly toward the sky from which sun shone its blistering rays over the hilly dunes of the desert. It has been a long time since he felt the warmth of the sun, the fresh air of the outside world, and lack of darkness everywhere he’d look. It was a refreshing feeling to say the least, as he’d nearly forgotten the pure joy of something as simple as constant light.
Standing not far behind him, Felix and Lucky were staring at him strangely, as he completely lacked disposition of someone who’d just recently beaten back the strongest cultivators of the strongest Empire on the continent.
“Uh... do you... do you mind if I ask you a question?” Felix spoke up meekly; the newly joined member was somewhat odd, he mused. The two had known each other for almost a week, yet had barely spoken a word between one another.
“I do.” Lucky replied.
“... I’ll ask anyway.” Felix said.
“Then why ask if I mind?” Lucky asked, glancing at him.
“Courtesy? Common decency?”
“... yeah, keep telling yourself that.”
“Anyway... was Master... always like this?” Felix asked, gently nudging his eyes toward Lino who still remained embodying the same pose.
“Why do you call him ‘Master’ anyway?” Lucky asked.
“Because he’s my Master.”
“Just because nobody else wanted to take you in as a Disciple doesn’t mean you should settle for literal horseshit.”
“Are you insinuating my Master is horseshit?”
“I’m not insinuating anything.”
“I’m telling you he is.” Lucky said with a slight grin.
“She’s right, you know?” without either of the two noticing, Lino suddenly appeared right in front of them, startling both for a second. “My dad accidentally fucked a horse when he was drunk, and here I am.”
“You do realize that makes no sense, right?” Lucky added.
“It does if you ignore everything you’ve learned about the world.” Lino said, grinning. “Anyway, what are you two doing, standing around here? We should be on the move.”
“... you feel like punching him?” Lucky asked Felix who merely nodded and sighed. “Every day?”
“Sometimes more than once.”
“I think I like you.” Lucky said as she suddenly wrapped her arm around Felix’s shoulder and dragged him forward. “You know what they say? Enemy of my enemy is my friend. You’re my friend from now on Flex.”
“Yeah, I don’t care.”
Lino stared at the two’s back for a moment with an amusing grin before following. He’d already located where Freya and the other girls were at, and couldn’t help but laugh for a moment as his Divine Sense scouted them.
“Anyway, where are we going now? You didn’t tell me anything.” Lucky suddenly turned around and asked Lino.
“We’re going to pick some girls up.” Lino replied casually.
“...” Lucky stopped walking as Felix sighed and wondered why his Master always seemed to intentionally misuse words or phrases just to stir trouble. “Really? We’re not going to, I don’t know, find me a cultivation method, or try to get some money to survive or - or even just go out for a fucking drink, but go and watch you try to find someone desperate enough to fuck you?”
“He... he means literally pick them up,” Felix quickly butted in before Lino had a chance to stir the trouble further. “We had prior arrangement with them, but they stayed outside when we went into the ruins.”
“... khm, what he said.” Lino added, barely holding himself back from laughter.
“Ha ha. Funny. Asshole.”
“Ah, they’re coming toward us,” Lino said, glancing into distance. “They’re all quite hot. Don’t get too self-conscious about it.”
“Who are they?” choosing to completely ignore Lino, Lucky asked Felix instead.
“Members of the Kvalend Tribe,” Felix replied, smiling bitterly. “Well, ex-members technically.”
“Eh? How’d you guys come across them?” Lucky asked, seeming somewhat surprised.
“It’s a long story,” Felix replied. “In a nutshell, they hired us to escort them back to their Tribe so they can gain access to the Ancestral Grounds to bury someone.”
“... he isn’t that noble.” Lucky immediately spoke out, glancing at Lino. “What’s the catch?”
“Master will most-likely enter the Ancestral Grounds as well.”
“... opportunistic bastard.” Lucky mumbled.
“You’re just as odd as him, though.” Felix subconsciously spoke out, immediately regretting it when he saw Lucky’s glare.
“You have a death wish?”
“He’s not wrong.” Lino seemingly once again teleported next to the two when they weren’t paying attention.
“F-fuck! You have to stop doing that!” Lucky exclaimed. “And what do you mean he’s not wrong?!”
“You are just as odd as me,” Lino elaborated, stroking his chin. “In a slightly different way, ye, but just as much of an oddball. Haven’t you noticed the pattern?”
“The pattern?” Lucky arched her brows.
“Everyone who sticks to me tends to be either an oddball or a completely insane maniac.”
“That’s true...” Lucky nodded.
“...” Felix on the other hand spoke nothing, but merely nodded his head. He’d realized he had long since abandoned sanity and common sense, which one should not try to hold onto if they wanted to spend a considerable amount of time around Lino.
“Oh, girls, you’re here!” Lino exclaimed as he smiled widely and waved his arm broadly, causing both Lucky and Felix to immediately roll their eyes at him. “Damn, I can’t tell you how much I missed you.” bolting in-between the two he immediately appeared next to Freya, his arm already around her shoulders, pulling her away from the other three who kept glaring at him with fiery eyes.
“Mr-Mr. Lino... I’m... I’m glad you’re safe...” Freya meekly mumbled, lowering her head in hopes of hiding her blushing face.
“Ha ha, you shouldn’t have worried about me,” the two - or better said - Lino had already moved onward, dragging Freya alongside him and leaving the remaining five behind. “I’m indestructible, you know? Ha ha, how are you, huh? Was there any trouble? If there was, be sure to let me know, okay? I’ll beat them senseless! So...”
“I’ll fucking skin him alive!!” Jane grunted through her teeth, barely holding back.
“Let’s go...” Felix sighed, following Lino and Freya with slouched shoulders.
“Wait. Who’s she?” Jane stopped him and asked, pointing at Lucky.
“I’m Lino’s fourteenth wife,” Lucky exclaimed in joy, startling Felix. She quickly walked over and grabbed Jane’s hand, shaking it fiercely. “I’m so glad to meet you! Are you my husband’s fifteenth wife? Or is it that girl he’s walking with? Ah, I remember him telling me he’d be getting fifteenth one soon. It was a long time coming, you know? I’d already borne him nine kids! There’s only so much a girl’s womb can bear, you know? I’m so happy for them!” Lucky relentlessly continued, glancing at Lino and Freya. “Don’t they look perfect for each other or what?”
“...” Felix stared stunned as he suddenly felt shiver run up his spine. He realized Lucky wasn’t among the ‘oddballs’ group... she was a part of the ‘insane maniacs’ group.
“B-BASTARD!!! WAIT RIGHT THERE!!!!” Jane flared out with all her might and ran out of Lucky’s tight hold, bolting toward Lino and Freya. Lucky grinned in self-satisfaction as she put her hands behind her back, anticipating a good show.
“Let’s see you tongue your way out of this one, bastard.”
“... you’re not his wife, are you?” one of the two remaining girls asked.
“Fuck, don’t even mention that ever again!” Lucky flared out, suddenly shuddering. “I honestly don’t know how I didn’t vomit my bowels out saying that. Grrr...”
“Do you have some grudge against Master?” Felix asked.
“... grudge?” Lucky glanced at him for a moment. “No, not really.”
“... why then?”
“Eh? I mean... it’s just... sort of the relationship we have, I guess?” Lucky replied after a moment’s thought. “I mean, tell me... wouldn’t you be pissed if he kept making puns out of your name... every day... since the day that he met you?”
“Yeah, that would be unlucky.” Felix replied subconsciously, only realizing his slip when he saw that fierce glare. “Uh, I-I didn’t... didn’t mean it that way... I swear...”
“... pfft, ha ha, relax, relax,” Lucky laughed almost immediately upon seeing his reaction, walking over and pulling her arm around his shoulder, dragging him forward yet again. “I’m not that aggressive, you know? You can joke around with me.”
“... ha... ha ha... of course...”
“But,” she leaned closer to his ear and whispered. “If you ever do make a pun out of my name, I’ll make a soup out of your balls.”
“....” Felix gulped loudly as he shivered yet again. Lucky, on the other hand, swallowed a laugh, barely holding back while realizing she would be having quite a bit of fun for the foreseeable future.