“... you’ve kidnapped a young girl?”
It was only when Hannah pointed it out in a judgmental and angry tone that Lino had finally realized he’d done something rather contemptible. He exclaimed softly, glancing at the still-passed-out girl lying on the bed next to Hannah. It was true, he sighed. Whatever his reasons may be, a grown-ass man taking a young girl against her will... there is no way to paint him as anything other than a bad guy.
“What did we agree on, Lino?!” Hannah asked again as everyone else in the room hunkered into the corners, avoiding the two. “What did we promise we won’t do?”
“... uh... we won’t kill the innocents...” Lino mumbled.
“We won’t steal from the poor...”
“We won’t discuss our bedroom kinks with strangers...”
“We won’t kidnap anyone...”
“We won’t kidnap anyone!” Hannah exclaimed. “Especially young girls!!”
“... y-yeah... sorry. I guess I wasn’t thinking.”
“... so who the hell is she anyway?” Hannah asked, glancing at the girl.
“One of the Great Seers.”
“She Marked you?”
“Yep.” Lino nodded.
“Oh, it’s a good thing you kidnapped her, then.”
“... say what now?”
“I mean, think about it,” Hannah shrugged. “How many people in the world are entirely immune to being marked by a Great Seer? Not many Lino. Not many. The fact that the Empyrean is skiving on the Holy Continent might have gotten out.”
“... so it’s a good thing I kidnapped a young girl?” Lino asked.
“No, of course not. It’s deplorable!”
“But, given the circumstances, you are forgiven.”
“... you’re a weird, bizarre, and a wonderful creature.” Lino said, smiling. “Please never change.”
“... you’re a weirdo,” Hannah fired back, slightly offended. “Anyway, what do you plan on doing with her? Though I know you’ve never audibly expressed the desire, I’m not letting you build a harem.”
“... let me correct you,” Lino’s eyebrows twitched for a moment. “I’ve never expressed the desire to build a harem -- audibly or otherwise. I don’t want a harem. I can barely handle your insanity, how in the god’s name do you expect me to handle any more than that? I’d melt woman! I’d wane away like an old oak tree, singing low hums for the dead and the dying! I’d choke on my own blood in my sleep! I’d--”
“I get it, shut the fuck up! Besides, I don’t think you’re into bald girls all that much.”
“The only bald woman I’d ever be into is you.” Lino teased.
“And if you ever decide to shave your head,” Hannah glanced at him emptily. “I’ll skid you.”
“... ah, the feeling of being loved.” Lino sighed, sitting down. “Can someone explain to me what it feels like?”
“... how long are you two keep at it?” a familiar voice caused everyone in the room to look at the window where Lucky was currently sitting with her legs crossed, staring at Hannah and Lino with judgmental eyes. “You’ve exhausted hearts and souls of poor people here. Quite frankly, I was half-expecting a few of them to just throw themselves out and splatter their brains against the earth.”
“Luckily you sat on that window,” Lino grinned. “Otherwise... whoosh. Who could imagine the nightmare?”
“... I’ve been back literally ten seconds,” Lucky said, sighing. “You are impossible.”
“What are you doing here anyway?” Hannah asked. “I thought we’d meet in the City of the Thousand Light.”
“... yeah, change of plans,” Lucky said strangely. “Alright, the kids and the dwarfs, I’d like to speak with the revered Bearers for a bit.” as the small group left in confusion, Lucky vaulted in and stole Lino’s gourd, finally noticing the sleeping girl. “You shat out an eighty-pounder? Good lord woman... what’s your pussy look like? A pitfall designed to trap a Dragon?” corners of Hannah’s lips twitched as she glanced at Lino who was snickering, barely stifling a full-blown laughter.
“Yeah,” Hannah nodded. “I--I... fuck, I got nothin’.”
“Really?” Lino mumbled. “Just say it’s better to have a pitfall-like pussy than a repulsive one even the most desperate ones are too terrified to stick it in. It may eat them, after all. So, what did you want to talk about?”
“Well, I’ve been invited to become a disciple of the Holy Ground.”
“Eh? How’s that happen?” Hannah asked.
“Interestingly, it’s yours. Or your former one. Or your temporarily-not-a-member-because-I-betrayed-their-asses-so-I-can-get-pregnant-with-an-eighty-pounder. The Eternity one.”
“... weren’t you actually good friends?” Lino asked.
“... hm? We still are.” Hannah and Lucky looked at him at the same time as he shuddered.
“... good god...”
“Anyway, you might know the girl who invited me.”
“Who was it?” Hannah asked.
“The other Bearer.”
“......” Lucky suddenly backed off a few steps as she felt two pairs of eyes land on her; they were strange and eerie and too disturbing, even for her.
“... w-w-hat? Look, even if flames in your bedroom died, I ain’t participating in the rekindling!”
“... yeah, she’s kind of Ally’s preferred type. She’s practically you who didn’t betray her.” Lino commented with a nod.
“... aww. She’s trying to replace me. That’s sweet.” Hannah said.
“... you know Ally? Wait, I know Hannah knows her, but why are you calling her Ally? God, please don’t tell me she’s one of the women you shagged before this one straightened you...”
“Well, considering that the last time I spoke to her was just over thirty years ago,” Lino said. “I’m fairly certain shagging her was a literal, physical impossibility.”
“Ally and I used to live in the same orphanage,” Lino explained. “Until Hannah came by and took Ally away, then decided to stay behind and stalk me, hence beginning the lifetime long quest of conquering my heart.”
“... also fed him, clothed him, taught him, saved his life... but, yeah, let’s not focus on that.” Hannah mumbled from the side.
“... fuck, don’t tell me you’re the boy...” Lucky suddenly exclaimed in horror.
“What boy?” Lino asked.
“... nevermind.” she quickly shook her head, deciding to live in denial. “You’re awfully casual about this, though. You two do realize she’s your enemy, right?”
“... Ally?” Hannah and Lino looked at Lucky strangely, again, causing her to shudder. It was rather terrifying how in sync the two were in the oddest of moments. “Why is she our enemy?”
“... uh, I don’t know, let’s see. She hates your guts because you killed Eos,” she pointed at Lino. “And she hates your guts is because you love his.”
“Yeah, but what’s that got to do with her being our enemy?”
“... what should I do?” Lucky sighed, deciding it was best she moved on lest she began losing her mind... more than she already was.
“Well, I suggest you don’t join the Holy Ground,” Lino said. “It’d be fairly difficult for, you know, us not to see that as betrayal.”
“... any useful advice? Please? Just once.... just once... say something that isn’t utter horseshit...”
“... you like her, don’t you?” Hannah asked.
“Well, Ally’s fairly difficult not to like,” Hannah chuckled, getting up and walking over to Lucky. “And she’s also the sort that doesn’t like to burden other people with her problems. Many of which she’s facing right now. Be it as a friend or, or as a spy, or as whatever-the-hell-you-want, just be there for her. Please? She might help you understand yourself a bit better too. She has that sort of an effect on people.”
“... by the way, we’re staying in the City of the Thousand Lights, which is why we probably shouldn’t meet there.” Lucky added.
“No, we’ll meet there,” Lino suddenly said, surprising both Lucky and Hannah who glanced at him. “And the four of us will have a nice, possibly very awkward, chat.”
“Four of us? You do know she doesn’t remember you, right?” Hannah asked.
“... it’s time we plant the seed,” Lino said, taking a sip. “Hardly anything is ever truly forgotten, especially something that has had a monumental impact on one’s life.”
“... you want to break her down?” Hannah asked, somewhat angrily.
“What’s the alternative?” Lino shrugged. “Manipulate her? Have Lucky stay by her side for years and whisper sweet things about you and me? Kill her?”
“... she might not survive either way,” Hannah said in a low tone. “She’s forgotten you for a reason, Lino.”
“... she’s forgotten me because she had been put under a thumb, Hannah,” Lino replied. “Living every day beneath the judgmental eyes. It’s a miracle she endured as long as she did.”
“... we didn’t force her into anything,” Lucky withdrew awkwardly to the side, realizing she had no place in the upcoming fight. “She gave you up of her own desire. Memory of you was holding her back -- not just from increasing her cultivation, but from moving on. From living.”
“Really?” Lino asked, furrowing his brows. “Why don’t we then ask her together?”
“... ugh. Are you trying to circumvent a fight?!” Hannah growled.
“... frankly? Yeah, a bit. I mean, we didn’t have sex in like a week, and I’d very much like if we had it like, you know, today.”
“... why do you think I was starting a fight, you moron?!!” Hannah suddenly exploded, startling Lucky. “I mean, I’ve been trying to start a damn fight with you all day long, but your fat-ass just won’t take it!! Don’t you remember how amazing sex was that one time when I caught you checking out another girl?! I want that! All the time!”
“... hey, before this goes into the full-blown absolutely weird territory, can I add something?” Lucky chimed in.
“What is it?” Hannah and Lino asked.
“You two are certifiably fucking insane.” she said, getting up. “Luckily, you’re perfect for each other.”
“She said luckily.”
“... yup, perfect for each other.” Lucky mumbled as she vaulted over the window. “I hope you eat each other alive...”