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A note from Luc666-_-

So if any new readers managed to make it this far into the story, would you mind telling me your thoughts on it so far? Or telling me after you have read every chapter currently released, if you are interested enough to make it to that point?  Oh. Keep in mind, not all women he meet in the future will be heroines. Some, yes, but not all. He'll have a lot of women, but not heroines. This isn't really a story where he's gotta catch 'em all. He ain't Ash Ketchum

There's women who may affect or change the course of his life in certain ways, but dont just assume they are heroines. This is a story detailing his life, pretty much, and so while he'll certainly meet many women not everyone will remain by his side all throughout. 

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The Whispering Eye.


A rather high-end 3-story Inn/bar that was a hidden gem within Varric. Not quite so well known, but like a second home to those who did. The rooms were lit by special crystals that were imbued with a minor spell meant to absorb, and then emit, light via runes which were carved on its surface.

It seemed to be of the enchanting branch of magic from what little Lyle knew regarding such things.

Lyle was absolutely drenched by the time he got here. Luckily the dye he used for his hair wouldn't wash off unless he used a specific mixture of ingredients.

Iris, on the other hand, was almost completely dry. Lyle's coat had done its job well. She was very comfortable at the moment. When was the last time her brother carried her like this? She couldn't seem to remember.

Lyle, having previously held Iris in his arm in a veritable princess-carry, sat her down under the awning near the entrance of the Eye. He did his best to make sure he wouldn't make a mess when he went in by wringing out his clothes a bit. Iris, feeling guilty at seeing the state he was in, gave him back his overcoat.

After a few minutes, putting the coat back on, Lyle decided it was time to go in. With Iris hanging onto his sleeve, he entered. The two were instantly enveloped in a wave of warmth.

The inside held few people and was illuminated via a large crystal chandelier hanging on the ceiling. It offered light to nearly every corner of the room and, combined with the musicians playing on stage, created a soft and homely ambiance that made one feel welcome. Even the smells coming from the kitchen made you feel at always, as if you were resting at home.

As they walked in Iris noticed a woman in her early twenties whose gaze locked-onto her brother. With a mane of lusterous caramel brown hair, light blue eyes and an impressevely mature figure, Iris knew, objectively speaking, that she must be fairly popular among males. The woman who tended the bar wore a deep black tunic, she could see, which fitted her loosely and exposed her arms.

She was complete with a face like a heart, the chin tapering gracefully towards a slightly pointed chin, brows that make an attractive arch and almond-shaped eyes. Anyone, man or woman--even a grudging Iris--must admit that this woman has an appeal which would seem to fit into anyone's tastes as a feminine beauty.

And indeed, the few males scattered about the room seemed to steal glances at her every now and then unconsciously.

But this girl's beauty and popularity didn't matter to Iris, who was also a girl and a young one at that. She was also a bit prideful, thinking arrogantly that she herself would be much prettier when she was older and more mature.

It was just...

...It was just that this woman, as soon as she saw her brother, offered a thousand-watt smile along with beaming eyes full of familiarity. All of which immediately put Iris on guard. Who was she to appear so friendly towards her brother?

"Bell!" She all but gushed, seemingly esctatic.

The woman radiant expression, her happy grin, the way she was waving enthusiatically towards her brother, caused Iris to frown.

Hm? Bell? What's this woman thinking, calling out to brother with such a face and sense of closeness?

Her brother had, on the way to Varric, told her a lot about his fake identity. He told her almost everything she needed to know about that person who he was known as when under disguise, the person holding the name of "Bellamy Greyson".

Bellamy like their great grandfather, Greyson after a group which used to be affiliated with the Greybornes ages ago.

So she knew "Bell" was a shortened version of her brother's fake name, "Bellamy". However, why was this woman speaking to him in such a way? So...so affectionately? Obviously this was not born out of laziness, of a way to save precious seconds by shortening the name. This woman, who exactly was she to her brother?

But Lyle couldn't know the woman's single word caused his sister to be momentarily taken aback and then instantly suspicious seconds later. He paid no mind to such things, long since used to being called by that name. He grabbed Iris' hand and brought her along towards the woman as he raised a voice in return

"Solace, a sight for sore eyes." Lyle smiled. "Lovely as ever, I see. Tell me, how many suitors have you had to beat back today?" He teased. Saying so, he continued forward until he had to stop at the counter. Just an arm's reach away from the woman.

Iris stared at them, blinking a bit. Such a tone...Her brother and this woman, as she suspected, seemed quite...close?

"Only ten. Of course, I'm still waiting for a certain someone to come and sweep me off my feet." She bit her lip, raking her brother with a fiery look, her eyes sparkling brightly.

Iris was speechless. This woman...her intentions were too obvious! Such shamelessness...how long has this gone on? Brother couldn't even be considered an adult until recently!

"Is that so? Well I hope that works out for you then." Lyle's tone was mild and a touch distant.

Solace sighed. "Hmph. Whatever. Act oblivious. Hateful guy." She muttered.

"I heard that, you know?" He said

"I meant for you to hear, you know?" She shot back, cocking a brow.

Lyle shook his head, enjoying himself. He missed Sol and this teasing banter of theirs.

"Damn, look at you...you're soaked." She commented after seeing his clothes. "You could catch a cold." She said. " Hm. Although, the wet look is good on you. And I didn't think you were quite this muscular. You've been holding out on me." Solace poked him in the stomach, giggling. The dampness of his clothes made them stick to his skin a bit and exposed his lean frame, which is why she said that.

"So, who's the girl?" She asked suddenly, sobering. "Wait..." She peered at Lyle with suspicion. "It can't be that your tastes run in THAT way, right? Honestly, it would explain so much..."

Lyle scoffed. "Lewd woman, what nonsense are you accusing people of? She's my sister."

"Sister? Wait, she's the sister you're always talking about? " Solace exclaimed, eyes wide, staring at Iris and looking at her hard. " ...Bullshit!" Came the assertion. "You two don't look alike at all..." She examined Iris closely and said so. "Only the hair, I suppose. But the face..." She cast the two a doubtful glance.

Seeing the look they, especially Lyle, made, she stopped. "No, nevermind..." She frowned. Then, bouncing back, she gave Iris a smile of such brightness and good-will that even she couldn't hate it. "Sister, eh? I see, I see~. Well any sister of Bell's is a sister of mine. I've heard so many things about you, little one. Good things, mainly. You have a loving brother, I tell you, bragging about how precious and talented you are~"

Iris blinked, looking at her brother with amazment, her heart swelling. "Brother...!" She raised her voice and called out to him, hugging his arm tighter as she did, clearly happy beyond compare at this revelation.

Lyle nearly choked as he heard this. " Sol, don't!" He hissed low, signaling her to stop. He knew that Iris, armed with this knowledge, definitely wasn't a good thing!

The words were lost on the woman. Solace went on unabashedly, exposing more of Lyle's secrets. "Yup, he's always going on about how smart his genius little sister is, how sweet and adorable you are when pestering him. How great you are at drawing, how obedient you can be, how lucky he is to have such a darling little girl like you as his sister. I once asked him how he would describe you and he replied, " Annoyingly cute". His exact words. I mean I can't even tell you how jealous I am!"

Every words was like an arrow stabbing into him. He nearly groaned in pain, suppressing it with great difficulty.

Iris was so elated she felt she would rise up off the ground, drowsily looking up at her brother with hazy eyes. Every word sent her into new heights of joy. Iris thought she might even be dreaming.

"Big brother, you...!" She choked back tears, in a state of euphoria at the moment.

Lyle wanted to dig himself a hole. That woman, what was she thinking, saying these things?!

Letting Iris hear this was a danger on the same level as a natural disaster! Her head will swell to the size of a damn watermelon at this rate! She'll doubtlessly become incomparable arrogant from now on, not giving him any peace at all!

He felt betrayed.

Sol, you...! You vile, traitorous...! Do you even know what you've unleashed?!

...He couldn't even think of words to acccurately decribe what he was feeling right now...

What's worse, he knew Solace honestly didn't know what effect her words would have, nor meant any harm. She spoke sweetly all throughtout, like a close friend, not harbouring any ill-intent at all.

" ...But that aside...So, sister-in-law, you must be hungry right? Want something to snack on? Candy? Ice cream? Maybe some of my famous chocolate cake which is ingeniously topped with even more chocolatey goodness of the syrup variety, caramel and peanuts? No, hold up, not with this weather...maybe a soup? Meat? I make a mean steak."

Solace seemed to be in good cheer, reaching over the counter to pinch Iris' cheeks as she said all this. Lyle chose to ignore everything said before...

...Iris, however, caught something funny in her words.

Sister-in-law? Who was she talking about? This sly woman, she seemed very formidable, sliding that in there so naturally. What tactic is this? Some indirect way of establishing a closer connection with her brother by getting in the good graces of his beloved sister? This...how terrifying. This woman was indeed a cunning one, being able to pull this off so effortlessly. Thinking of it on the fly like this...

"Who's your sister-in-law? Hmph." Iris pouted, glaring at the woman from behind her brother's back. "Don't speak so familiarily to me, please. However, a friend of big brother's is a friend of mine. I guess..." Iris added the last part almost as an after thought, trailing off.

She didn't like this woman too much due to the apparent closeness and interest she had with her brother--Which still baffled her. Honestly, this woman was at least five years older than her brother. And her interest must have began before he came of age. Was she a cougar wanting to eat a young pup or did she simply notice the indescribable charm of her brother and want to set a reservation on him so that she may someday enjoy a more mature version of him? Either way, she was still much older, what did this woman think she was doing...

But, that aside, she seemed a decent sort? All bright and energetic...

Therefore Iris was unsure of how to handle her. She was unused to new people. She did admit that she was awkward around new people. At least, people who were much older than herself. Those closer to her age, Like Cecelia, were different.

Iris didn't want to hate the woman too much, though her inner thoughts were constantly flinging curses at her. And she was indeed a friend of her brother. One that Iris thought was more acccptable than that Cecelia due to the fact that her brother seemed not to visit the woman too often, unlike the situation with that pesky Cecelia.

She was also in a exceedingly good mood right now because of the things she was told her brother said about her. So taking all of that into consideration, she did make an effort to lessen the sting of her words and such.

And Lyle, for his part, knew his sister disliked most women and that she was pretty unused to dealing with new people. And it was for those two reasons that she was talking like this. It wasn't that she hated Solace. Just that she wasn't sure how to treat her. Lyle knew Iris was good at heart, even if her mouth was sharp. So seeing that Iris was being like this, Lyle looked apologetically at Solace.

"She's rather shy around strangers, sorry." He said with a small sigh. "Don't blame her too much. I'm the cause of it, really. I didn't let her grow like she was supposed to. Unfortunately, as you well know, " He narrowed his eyes at her slightly, still miffed about her revealing his words to his Iris, " I doted on her too much as a child and it made her a bit dependant on me, making her a bit...introverted." He smiled, albeit a tad awkwardly. He understood well his own part in her ending up like this.

Solace showed no sign of negativity in response to Iris' words or attitude. "Who can blame you for being a doting brother, especially with such a cut kid like this little girl here? Hehe, I kinda wish I was in her position, honestly. To have such a cool and caring brother..." She then waved off his concerns. " And don't worry, i'm great with kids. I've always been told I would make a very loving mother, in fact."

Lyle nodded. "And I believe you would. I've little doubt that you'll make someone a great wife someday, Sol." He spoke honestly, letting go of the slip she made moments ago.

Sol was quite a motherly individual, it had to be said. Always taking care of others while exuding a mature aura. And as beautiful--not to mention kind and thoughtful--as the woman was, he knew that she would make any man a happy husband.

It's a shame though, that none have yet been able to capture ther heart. Of course, the little teasing they often did towards each other was, to him, merely that.

"Ah, Bell, such a sweet talker." Her eyes flashed brightly with a certain odd light. "You, too, would make an excellent husband. I'm surprised you haven't been caught yet."

"I wouldn't say that, really. I do have a girlfriend, after all." He replied automatically. Then paused. No, that wasn't right. Not anymore.

Solace raised a brow, and Iris caught her smile falter. But the momentary weakness was gone so fast she half-thought it was never there at all...

This woman gave Iris a bad feeling just then, however, it was only for an instant. How odd...

"Indeed? Since when?" The woman asked.

"Ah...No, don't mind it. We've broken up some time ago." Her brother said shortly.

"Do I know her?" She asked suddenly. "Wait, it can't be Cece, right? I did always feel that you two were pretty close."

He shook his head. "No, she isn't. Wasn't. But speaking of, Cecelia hasn't shown up yet I take it?" The name Cecelia wasn't exactly uncommon, so the woman in question didn't think it had to be changed. Lyle's name was more rare, however. Hm, although, no one would exactly think high-profile characters like them would be under disguise in the first place. Maybe all the carefulness wasn't even needed, then.

"Can't we just leave without her?" Iris asked, sullen. She was so hyped at the thought of going on a journey with her brother, but that girl ruined it with her pestering. Iris was sure that she bugged her brother until he gave in. Iris didn't exactly hate the girl on a personal level, but she had no good impressions for her.

Especially since that first encounter had the vile woman drag Iris away while that insufferable sister of her's flirted with her brother. Hmph. Cecelia. Claiming to be such a good friend of her brother and yet allowing that trainwreck of a relationship to go on for so long. Did she not realize how unsuitable that Sophia-bitch was for her brother?

Lyle, hearing her, frowned a bit.

Solace gestured vaguely, encompassing the room. " As you can see, she isn't here. If she stopped by I can only guess that it was to meet up with you, as per usual? Which reminds me, you really have to tell me where you live one of these days. I hate all these sporadic visits of yours. You can't be from anywhere around Varric, I'm sure. I'm a good friend of yours, am I not? I can go visit you some times, can't I? I truly feel as if you're keeping me at a distance on purpose. It wounds me, Bell, that I don't even know where to send you a card for holidays."

He smiled vaguely. " Well, you know me and Cece, we're people who like to travel. I doubt any holiday cards would be read by me in time, just piling up by my door. But fear not. Maybe I'll invite you and Nyk over someday and we can have a party of three."

"Bah, that cousin of mine, why bring him along? He's a joykill. But If you think you and your youthful hormones can't control yourselves around the mature and feminine charms of a woman like myself, I suppose bringing him is acceptable." She laughed lightly, the sound soft and pleasing to the ears. " But, well, if that's what it takes then It's fine by me. Just so you know... Those words, I'll hold you to them, my dear." A light danced in her eyes, showing excitement and expectation.

Iris had the sudden urge to gag in that moment, but it was forced down.

Lyle got back to the topic at hand."That aside, I wanted to have Cecelia come with me and Iris as we travel to Zeshar, so I sent her a message some few days ago and planned to meet her here. I thought she would be here by now, but apparently not. " He said drily.

"Zeshar?" Solace raised her voice. "That's a pretty abnormal place. And pretty far too. I won't ask what you want to do there, but be careful." She leaned over the counter, putting a hand on his arm, showing concern. " I know how capable you are...however, there're a lot of monsters and bandits on the roads this time of year. "

Lyle patted her hand. " Oh come now. Don't fret, love, something like that wouldn't deter me." He said in a smooth, confident voice. "I'm not quite that weak. But I know what you mean. I'm not a complete idiot, I will be bringing some backup. Since I'm taking Iris, I of course won't leave things to chance. After Cecelia get's here we'll be heading to the Merc Hall in Ustrax, get some extra protection."

" Well at least you won't recklessly charging in like you usually do. You and Cece can take care of yourselves well but you know how I hate hearing of all these wild situations you get yourself in. Takes ten years off my life every time." She sighed. " Alright, I won't bother you about it. I hope Cece won't get here too fast, so we can catch up. Oh, but let me go get this little cutie here something to snack on~!"

Exuding a vibrant, youthful energy, she turned and went to the kitchen by way of a dark brown door to her left.

Iris watched her leave with a complicated expression on her face. "...I don't know what to make of that one. Brother, exactly what relationship do you have with her?"

"We're friends. Her cousin, Nykyrian, is a member of the Haddock mercenaries whom i'm an honorary member of. He's a good friend, saved my life once. I met Sol not long after. So yes, friends sums it up nicely."

"...Brother, she looks at you the same way a person looks at a warm sticky bun...." Iris said, surly.

He couldn't help letting out a laugh. " Oh did she now?" He smiled wryly, looking amused. " Well I don't know about that, but don't take her too seriously. And be nice, Iris, she's a good person. I'm sure you'll love her eventually, she has a way of worming her way into people's hearts."

And she did at that. Solace Serenity D'Alerion was a person you could never hate for long even if you wanted to. A truly kind-hearted and good-willled woman that was able to light up a bad day just by being there.

" If you say so. "Iris replied neutrally. "But that sister-in-law thing she said gave me a sour taste in my mouth. Who's her sister-in-law? Hmph."

Lyle affectionately rubbed her head and directed her to a booth near the corner, his usual spot.

Then he waited.

**********

Some time past and Solace had long since come back with two trays full of food. Bread, soup, some tender ham, mashed potatoes and warm milk. For Iris, that is. As for Lyle, he got some wine.

Iris saw this and looked reproachfully at the woman.

"What, are you trying to get my brother drunk or something?" She asked.

Solace didn't mind her tone at all. However, she blushed slighty in response. Her reply was smooth, though, and full of good cheer. "Haha, I couldn't even if I wanted. Your brother can handle a drink like nobody's business. I rarely ever see him even tipsy. This guy can drink alcohol like it's water!" She smiled, laughing softly.

Iris was confused. Did her brother drink? She looked towards him funnily.

But it was true. Lyle had a hard time getting drunk. The first time he drank was when Nyk and some others dragged him to a bar after a battle he helped out with. They found his unusual tolerance for drinks at that time. He could get drunk, but due to his constitution he would have to drink much more than the average person.

Poisons and such, too, were weakened when they entered him. They would still affect him, but it would take longer and the effects were pretty much halved. Well, he still had to drain the poison out though. Resistance was an entirely different concept from immunity.

It's just that the weaker poisons that didn't directly harm him and simply cause him a little sickness were often overlooked by this resistance of his.

"Don't worry, Iris." He told her. "My body's a bit special, remember? I don't get drunk easily. This won't affect me in the slightest. " Saying so, he took a sip.

Iris nodded her head obediently, not questioning further since her brother was so sure. And she did know that her brother, with the Greyborne family blood running strong in his veins, was different from others. She wondered if she might have some of those some characteristics.

She knew that she wasn't like him, that while they should both be similar since they were siblings, she simply wasn't. Iris for some reason or another hadn't awakened any real trait that the Greyborne family usualy passed onto it's members. Her mother's side, maybe, she didn't know. Her mother didn't talk about her own family much, so Iris couldn't confirm if she had any of the Bathory clan's attributes.

She didn't worry too much about this though. She might awaken some similar traits at some point, she knew. Her brother was merely exceptional, always having been blessed with strength and speed surpassing his peers. Even if she was more normal than him in regards to that, even if she never awakened any traits from her own heritage, she was fine. Iris was proud of having such an amazing brother and wasn't jealous at all.

She didn't get superior physcal abilities but that was alright. In exchange she got a cool, kind and capable brother who would always protect her. Besides, in the future when her brother accomplished great things--as he of course will--she would be able to gloat and brag that he's her brother. Yes, no one else's but her's.

Getting back to the present, Solace, that woman, called out to a large man to tend the bar in her stead before she took a seat next to her brother. The two of them then began talking to one another, speaking of this event or that, the woman spilling some gossip that had to do with people Iris didn't know.

She sat herself close to him, an arm on the table and using it to prop up her head as the two talked. Sometimes they laughed or smiled and the woman would occassionally touch her brother's arm as they caught up. Solace, despite seeming an energetic sort, was actually pretty mellow when she was just talking. She had a lot to say, but mainly stayed silent and listen with rapt attention while her brother was speaking.

Iris didn't cut in at all, but each minute that passed made her more annoyed. This Solace person was obviously a good friend of her brother, and she indeed seemed like a good person...But wasn't she being a bit too close to him? Although it could be her imagination. Her brother always said that she had a habit of looking at things through a colored lens.

Which probably meant that Iris read too much into things, seeing something that wasn't there. At least she did this when girls or women were near her brother. She instantly thought they were interested in him or trying to take him away from her. Simply put, to her, most women were enemies.

Iris was away that what her brother said might be true. But she didn't care. When she thought about it, she felt that she was very normal in thinking that way. What woman wouldn't find her brother desireable? Even if you discarded his status and talents, he was still very handsome and cool-looking.

Even with his current blonde hair and blue eyes. She preferred his usual colorings because that was his natural state. But right now with his current disguise, sword at his waist, Iris knew that he did seem to bear the look of the quintessential gold-haired, blue-eyed hero that you would often see described in fantasy stories.

So it couldn't be helped if he attracted gazes. And because of this Iris was thinking that she was right in assuming women and young maidens might be infatuated with him at first glance. Like how when he made his debut. At that time he was surrounded by young girls, and even some of the older ones commented that he would surely grow to be a rather charming young man in the future.

Iris mentally sighed, looking at them with a weary light in her eyes.

Just as she was about to take a sullen bite out of a piece of bread, the door to the established was opened.

In the doorway was a girl, tall, with long hair of a dark auburn color--different from her brother's hair that was a deep maroon, a lustrous, more crimson hue. Not like the brownish-red color this girl had--which was tied in an intricate ponytail and handing over her should.

She wore light leather armor which was black with gold designs along it's torso and shoulder guards. Around her was a green cloak with the hood down, the thick cloth keeping her well protected from the rain outside. Iris noticed that the girl had matching black pants which at first glance seemed restrictive, but upon further inspection was revealed to be made of a material that looked easy to move in.

The newcomer was also sporting a pair of sharp grey eyes that could be seen behind thick black-rimmed glasses.

She felt immensely familiar and Iris disliked her on sight.

Lyle and Solace noticed her instantly. " Cece! So, you're finally here! Come and gimme a hug~!" The woman rose and rushed to the girl, embracing her warmly.

....Iris blanked out for a moment. This girl...she was that person, wasn't she?

*********

The four of them sat down at the booth, Iris by her brother's left, sitting towards the window, while Solace took Lyle's right and Cecelia sitting across from them.

Ten minutes passed.

" Well I think the rain has passed, or at least gotten much lighter. We still have to buy some supplies so we should get going." Lyle stood up.

"What?" Solace blinked. "Already? But you just got here! Cecelia too!"

"No, he's right." Cecelia cut in. "We should have left already, but I ended up being late."

"Alright, fine." Solace looked a bit downcast. Then she bouced back, suddenly seeming to remember something. "That's right!" She exclaimed. She turned to Lyle. "Bell, wait here real quick!"

She ran upstairs, taking the door to the far right side of the room, leaving them behind.

Cecelia looked at Lyle with a questioning gaze.

A few minutes later Solace came back with a long object covered in a light blue cloth.

"I almost forgot about this! Here. " She presented the object to Lyle. "This is something that Nyk brought over once. He didn't know how to find you so left it in my care for the next time you stopped by. He said he got it from old man Davron. "

"What is it?" Cecelia wondered.

"...A sword, it looks like" Lyle frowned, unwrapping it. The sheath was black, a pattern of blue lines along it that was reminiscent of the so-called magic circuits he had seen on Iris' body that time. He pulled on the handle, taking the blade out entirely.

It was indeed a sword. A long single-edged sword with a blade only perhaps two or three fingers wide and whose color was a light red. It exuded an almost...evil.... intent. Like a caged beast. How strange...

He didn't think too deeply about that part, simply looking over he weapon with a keen eye.

The pommel was wrapped with soft, fine black leather and seemed very comfortable to grip. The weight was light, balanced perfectly but heavy enough so that you could swing it with full strength. The best swords, Lyle knew, were not light as feathers but had a weight that was just right so that one could exert all the force they can if need be.

"It's a good sword, but the design is meant for slashing. A slightly curved, long and thin blade. Long handle, too. The hand guard is strange, however. Small, disk-like. I've never seen something like it before. Not at all like the cross guard you would normally see on swords...That's bad, right? No...wait, although this may seem a bad choice, it's still a good form of defense. Most swords would slide down along the blade and hit the guard anyway . This one's more than wide enough to protect the fingers...What is this, some kind of hybrid sword? No, it doesn't seem like it..." Lyle was murmuring aloud, speaking his inner thoughts as he examined the sword.

A hybrid weapon would take some aspects of different weapons and put them together in a sort of mish-mash. Not bad, but generally worse than the original weapons the traits of the new hybrid was taken from. Some turned out better, however.

Hm. Although, he started to have doubts. At first glance, seeing the thin blade, he almost thought it was something similar to a rapier. But now that he looked at it closer, it wasn't actually similar to rapiers much at all. The overall design, he now saw, is definitely not of a rapier whose blade is straight and meant primarily for piercing, for thrusts. The tip here is sharp, but wouldn't go through as well as a rapier that has a more narrow and double-edged tip...

With such a thin blade, wouldn't it break? He tapped on it, hard.

A small, beautifull ringing sound was issued from the blade. Lyle was surprised, his eyes widening slightly. It was harder than expected, but not so much so that it was too brittle. It did have a bit of flexability to it, which was good. If it was too hard then it could break if met with sufficient force. But if it was too soft, then it could bend.

Both were horrid things to deal with. This blade was hard and wouldn't bend too much, but it was still able to. Which meant it was pretty durable. Probably one of the most he had ever come across.

But the material it was made of...he wasn't sure. This lusterous red hue, just what was it?

"Ah, there's a letter." Iris, Cecelia and Solace spoke in unison, interrupting his thoughts.

"Hm? What?" Lyle looked up.

"A letter. There." Cecelia pointed to the ground. Apparently the thing had slipped out of the cloth earlier, unnoticed until then.

Iris picked it up and gave it to him.

Dear brat.

Lyle read the line and his cheek twitched irritably.

He continued.

You damn cheeky little devil-spawn, you thought I couldn't do it, didn't you? Little bastard, you broke ten blades of mine! TEN!! Do you even know how much money I could have sold those for? Hateful boy, each one costs more than your life! Hmph. Any one else would give their right arm, their daughters or sisters or both, in order to have a sigle one of my creations! I speak true, I tell you! Dammit, and you just come into my life and BREAK TEN OF MY PRECIOUS CHILDREN!

Even daring to say they were too weak...Would you even recognize a good blade? Little boy still suckling milk from your mother's tits, that's what you are! ...Go get bent over a fence by your grandpa, damn hateful brat. Your parents obviously should have beat you more as a kid.

...Ah, whatever.

Anyway, I finally forged something that can withstand that abnormal strength of yours. I know you said that most weapons don't last you long, and that's why. Boy, you're too strong. You put too much strain on the weapon and that wears them down much faster than normal. But this one here is pretty durable. I made it using a design from a very old civilization and they mainly used thinner blades. But don't be fooled. This thing, if done with a person of my supreme skill, can be many times stronger than average swords!

Okay, it helped that I used great stuff to make it. But still, it's good design. Nice and swift, gives some clean cuts too. And you should probably know that I cooled it in Devil's blood, hence the reason it emits a na
sty aura. Nothing I can help. And don't ask where I got the blood from either. I'll have to kill you if you do. No, seriously. You would have to die.

The blade itself is forged from a Hydra's bone. You didn't know this, most likely, but them bastards' bones are good material for weapons.

In any case, try this out. I'm sure it can handle anything you throw at it!

Probably.

Look, this ain't some overpowered or godly weapon. It's just damn hard to break. Not even you can do it, I'm certain. Remember to thank those two idiots, Nyk and Murphy. Those bastards begged me to help you out. Annoying flies. Oh, and be careful when handling the thing. It can get pretty bloodthirsty, you know? I suggest feeding it every other day or so. Keep the thing satisfied.

Oh, and I've taken to calling it the Red Thorn. Why? Cause that's what it felt like, a damn thorn in my side. Never doing what it was told, always fighting me at every turn, like an unruly kid...And I actually wasted so many expensive materials to make it...Even the sheath was pricey. I asked an old mage friend of mine to enchant the sheath's surface so that it could contain the blade's bloodlust. Otherwise people will see you coming a mile away. I can't have you dying on me just yet, you see.

Anyway, this bugger was a bitch to forge. I can't even stand to look at it anymore, the cursed thing.

Sincerely, Davron

P.S: I'm not doing this for free. I'll ask you for a favor someday, brat. Don't get yourself killed before then. Be ready!

P.P.S: Next time you see him, tell that brat Murphy to give back that dagger he stole. I know it was him.


Lyle was thoroughly annoyed by the time he finished.

Seeing his face, Solace asked. "What did it say?"

"...Nothing important. Just the ramblings of an old man." He tore the paper up. He looked at Solace. "Thanks for taking care of it for me."

"No problem. I can tell you like it."

"Ah...yeah." That old man was a pain, but his craftsmanship was top-notch. Lyle wondered how a person with his skills ended up in the positition he currently held. His creations were certainly of high-quality. He might not be the best at what he does, but he certainly doesn't lose to anyone in terms of ability.

"If that's everything we should go. "Lyle said.

"Bye, Solace." Cecelia nodded her head to the girl.

"Nn, take care you three."

Then, before Cecelia could react, she came forward and hugged her.

Cecelia froze up.

A moment later Solace did the same for Lyle, and he returned it calmly but with a frown. He wasn't used to hugs...At least not with people who weren't family.

Finally, Solace turned to Iris. Grinning.

"...Don't." Iris said flatly.

Her grin widened.

Solace reached over and picked the girl up, bringing her close and hugging her tightly.

"Put me down!" Iris hissed, struggling.

Only her brother had the right to act so forward with her, dammit! This woman, ah, she was hugging too strongly...! Iris felt her breath coming out of her mouth like a balloon...

"Ah, such a cute little girl~ I thought this at the start, but you're adorable~" She set her down and pinched Iris's cheeks, seemingly enamored with Iris's reaction. She laughed, patting her on the head.

"...How uncouth..." Iris glared at her.

With little more to say, the three soon departed.

*********

"That'll be ten silver, sir."

"Thanks, " Lyle handed over the appropriate amount.

He and the other two visited a store to buy some rations. Jerky, rice, beans, meat, eggs, bread, cheese....

There was a lot that had to be bought. Especially water. They bought gallons of the stuff.

He also got some luxery items like ice cream, cake and other treats. And soap. Couldn't forget that. All these would be kept cool in a large icebox.

Similar to the blackbox Lyle used to store items, an icebox was something that was crafted with runes inscribed upon the inside along with ice crystals. Basically it kept things cold, frozen. Or, not exactly. More like, the things that entered would be kept in stasis almost...

It was similar to the blackbox in that it was "bigger" on the inside. This sort of thing was fairly common these days.a hundred or so years ago it was a foreign concept, but advances in science, magical equipment and enchanting made many things possible. Which in turn was making life much more convenient.

His blackbox was like a much more advanced version of the icebox which he just now purchased. But he didn't used his blackbox. It was mainly for his personal items, things he might need. He did keep a lot of emergency rations inside, but otherwise left it to be used for storing weapons, monster parts, rope, clothes and other such things. Groccery items were not really ever placed inside.

Iris' luggage was, of course, kept safe in the blackbox.

Inside the low-grade icebox was 4 or 5 cubic meters of space in which he placed all their bought items. It would have been a real pain to carry all that. No, actually, it would probably have been impossible to carry so many things.

Lyle, Iris and Cecelia left the store. They then made their way to the local merchant guild, one of many scattered thoughout the continent which can be found in nearly every city or town(save the really small ones)to some degree or another.

It was a large building, several stories high, with a almost equally large warehouse by its side where the larger items were kept. For example, carriages.

" We don't usually sell such things to those not part of the guild. Do you have proof of membership, then?"

Lyle didn't recognize the young man who he met inside. Neither did Cecelia. It seemed like he was new, then. He had come here every now and then under this disguise so he was fairly familiar with those who worked here.

" Of course, here."

Lyle presented a silver card to the man.

"Thank you. Sorry for the inconvenience, sir. Come, let's go see what we can find you."

Truth be told, the merchants guild could also take care of a carriage if one was a member and they requested they look after it. They would wait some months and if it wasn't retrieved, then the carriage would either be sold or used by the guild. Lyle had previously bought one here, but it got destroyed some time ago.

He rammed it into the wooden wall of a small fortress some time back. He lit it on fire, and placed barrels of gunpowder inside. It offered a magnificent explosion...

"No problem, lead on."

They followed the young man to the large door to the side of the building. Lyle noticed that as they walked beside him the young man kept sneaking a few glances at Cecelia every now and then. It made Lyle smile wryly. Cecelia, even with her cold demeanour, change in haircolor and large glasses, would still attract gazes.

The young man showed them two types of carriages. One was a large covered wagon with a space about equal to a sizeable bedroom? Or something like that. More than enough for a few people.

The other was a box-shaped carriage made of a water-resistant wood, around two meters or more high. The inside was about the same size as the other one, maybe a bit bigger. There was a space in the back to store things. But this one, unlike the first, had a luggage space near the ceiling.

In comparison, the box-shaped on was more robust and offered much better protection from the weather or even projectile weapons.

At least one person would have to sit out in the front to drive it, though that was a given. There was a door by the head of the carriage so that one could come and go, it even had a window that could be opened. The driver's seat was large too, and comfortably padded. Lyle, Iris and Cecelia together might not be able to completely fill it up.

" The first one is 10 gold, sir. The second 40."

" So much?" Cecelia frowned.

" Is that a lot?" Iris also frowned. She, being the young daughter of a powerful family like the Greybornes, never had to really think of money. To her, the concept of money was vague. Or more accurately, she did know about it but her she didn't know if something like 40 gold was all that much. Even if it was 1000 gold she would ask the same.

She simply didn't ever have to worry about money, everything she wanted was easily acquired. So suffice it to say, if she was alone, she would be swindled within seconds had someone tried.

Lyle also blamed himself for that, though it wasn't true. As her brother, it was his responsibility to teach her many things and make sure she was able to become a functioning member of society.

Feeling ashamed at himself for never thinking of teaching her about money before, he promised himself that he would be sure to educate her in the comming days.

Lyle nodded at her, saying. "40 gold is way too much. For something like this, 20 gold or 30 would be the max. Well, usually."

" I see." She narrowed her eyes at the young man. "You there, are you trying to trick my brother? Trying to rob him? Such audacity..." Iris gave him a look that suggested he was lower than a stain on a wall.

It has to be know, before this, she was very obedient and looked for all intents and purposes to be a very well-behaved young girl as she clung to her brother's sleeves a tad shyly.

She was wary of other people, and only got mad or made mean comments when she saw people staing too much at her or her brother.

But now...Now she was showing such a forceful and dark aura that the man, who was much older than her, retreated back a step and suddenly seemed to feel a coldness along his back. He smiled awkwardly as he tried to explain.

"Ah, no, please don't misunderstand me young miss! It's just that, uh, you see, this carriage is rather special..." He quickly said, stammering and trailing off in the end.

"Oh? Special how, exactly?" Cecelia asked, raising a delicate brow at the man with a cold expression. She, too, felt that this man might be trying to trick them. She made it clear how she felt about that, causing the older man to become pinned with another stare.

Facing the two in front of him, he really felt as if he was lower than dog shit at the moment.

The man glanced at Lyle, wondering how he was able to remain so calm and unaffected by these two young beauties. The younger one was lovely as a doll but with a forceful inner core and the older one was captivating warrior maiden but unfortunately appeared to be an ice princess, or so it seemed at this time. He couldn't tell if he envied the younger lad in front of him or pitied him...

"The thing is, young misses, that this carriage was remodeled by the previous owner. He installed many hidden compartments to store things and keep them safe. He also made it able to endure much harsher weather. Heck, even the wood isn't normal wood, but painted Ironbark!"

Lyle suddenly had a new respect for the carriage. He questioned. " Then why hasn't it been sold yet?" Something like this should sell easily.

"...Ah, well, you see..." The man smiled uncomfortably. " The previous owner did so much remodeling and improvements to the carriage as a whole that it's value is pretty high. We originally wanted to sell it for no less than 80 gold at the least...but those here in Varric are mainly either common folk or mercenaries. Neither would really care to spend so much money on something like this despite it's enhancements. The improvements are, to them, nice but ultmately unneeded. As for the Nobles who can afford it..." He trailed off once more.

But Lyle understood. Nobles wouldn't have much use for this thing. The Nobles in Varric all lived within it's walls and would rarely travel outside the city limits. They would take no interest in it anyway since they generaly prefer things that are more elegant and refined.

This bulky thing, though much more stylish than many, was still too unsightly for the Nobles who were used to more gaudy and impressive things.

" So that's how it is, huh. Okay. We'll take it. But I'll give you the original price of 80 gold." The young man's eyes turned sharp at Lyle's words, he saw. Obviously he sensed a deal of some sort coming on. And he was right, Lyle went on. "In exchange, I want the price of the horses to be included. I assume you have some we can buy?"

"Yessir." The man smiled.

"Good. Moving on, I also want some medicine. And i'll make a list of herbs, among other things, that I can use which I want you to acquire for me. The remaining amount that isn't used...Hm. Make me an account with the guild under the name Bellamy Greyson."

All Lyle had was the membership card that allowed him access to things that most non-members were not allowed to purchase. It also proved he was currently in good standing with the guild, noticable by the silver color of the card as apposed a normal brown one.

It was a different thing from actually having an account with the guild. It was fast and easy to get a membership card, only had to pay a some silver coins. But actually having an account would take a bit more time to get done and required at least 3 gold coins to open.

Once you had an account you could put money into it and use that money at any other Merchant guild-owned building. It was also like a bank, it's always be saved by the guild until you needed it. Even if you became a bankrupt beggar, as long as you had money in the account you could buy something with it and there wasn't a way for anyone other than you to access it.

However it was due to this that you had a limit to how much money you could actually put inside the account.

Because the only ones really able to afford opening one were people from merchant families or Noble families, the limit should be considerable.

Lyle wasn't sure but the limit was probably not above 500 gold, give or take. Not a small sum. You could buy a sizeable mansion for that much money.

"Understood. Oh...And those who open an account with the guild can be asked if they would like a VIP card to replace the membership card they currently have. A VIP card will let you see the more rare items we may have to offer, and a 5% dicount on goods are ranked uncommon and below. Also, if you show it to an auction house affiliated with the guild, you will be given the same benefits. More so if you are the one selling items. But it would cost an additional 10 gold to get a VIP card. Would you like to have one, sir?" The man inquired politely.

"Sure, why not." Lyle replied shortly.

They spent about ten more minutes there before leaving.

The large open gate of the warehouse opened for them. With Iris sitting by his side on the driver'sseat, and Cecelia on the other, Lyle tok hold of the horses' reigns and commanded them to start walking forward.

And off they went.

*********

Lyle didn;t immediately head to the city gates. He told Cecelia to wait for him near the gates after about five minutes of driving. He handed her the reigns, then ran off into the streets. Iris wanted to follow, but was held back by Cecelia.

It took him a short time to find his destination: A two storey home near a more secluded part of the city.

He hadn't exactly ever been here before. But he knew this was the place. Lyle knocked on the thick wooden door.

After some time, it opened and revealed a woman who looked to be in her mid twenties if that. Seeing her, Lyle's mind went momentarily blank.

His eyes were also drawn to the soft-looking, bountiful mounds that jutted proudly from the woman's chest.

Make no mistake

Lyle was by no means an overly perverse male, usually. He was a healthy male, one who was full of vigor. He could appreciate a woman's beauty and charms but he wouldn't midlessly ogle them with the sort of licentious gaze which would be classified as creepy or uncomfortable.

But this woman...her assets were simply too awe-inspiring. They were not cantalopes, these were watermelons, dammit! But that was only one thing that made him like this. The other?

It was the woman's ethereal beauty. Long, flowing hair which was the color of the blue seas and a pair of eyes which were a deep and enchanting shade of violet. Her face was, like Solace, a heart shape. But with softer tones, more rounded, almost fey-like in nature.

Her waist was slim, contrasting heavily with her upper half but not in a bad way. In fact, the opposite. The woman was tall, her skin very fair, pale, but her cheeks filled with a healthy dose of red. Her eyebrows were lovely arches, her smile warm and inviting as Solace's own if not even more so. Hell, just the woman's long and think finger's, like that of an artist, were oddly provocative. Her long legs, they too had a decidedly destructive aspect to them.

This was a beauty that nations would fight over. It was the only way to describe her. She easily ranked among the most attractive women he had ever seen in his life. His own mother, who's beauty was like that of a golden moon seen during a starry night, was the only person who could compare to the woman in front of him.

He could count on one hand the number of young maidens who might be able to also be compared to this blue-haired seductress in front of him, and that wasn't even until they matured more.

Lyle was almost always composed, but in the presence of this woman even his normally calm heart couldn't help but skip a beat. And yet he recovered quickly, forcing himself to not be distracted.

Lyle then noticed the slightly pointed, elongated ears on the woman.

"This smell...My husband sometimes has this scent around him. You...must be young master Lyle, correct?" A soft voice was issued from the woman's full, pink lips, lyrical and serene.

Lyle nodded, smiling. "Yes, I am. And you must be that old bast--ah, I mean, instructor A'daire's, wife... Right?"

He had serious doubts about that now. Surely that man couldn't capture the heart of a woman of this caliber...

But he was almost certain that this woman was indeed his wife. He just couldn't believe how it happened.

" I am." The woman nodded coolly. " But how strange." She spoke with curiosity, looking at him inspectingly. "You aren't affected by my inherent glamour...this is odd, truly. Most of your kind would be more absent-minded. Yet you came back to yourself almost instantly. And you...you eyes...everything...so bright...Yes, blinding. Such a dark presence, however, just below the surface...I don't know of anything like it..." She murmured. " ...I'm sorry, my dear boy. I think perhaps you have her attention as well. How unlucky..."

Lyle only caught half of what she said, but he stiffened with just that. "What--"

She raised a hand to stop him. "No. Don't ask. I couldn't tell you. And you wouldn't want to know. Such things can't be spoken aloud. Or shouldn't, ever. No, you'll understand eventually, I think. But I do believe that it would do well for you to never find out. If ever you have the chance to visit the Aede, maybe it would give you answers. Although that elusive thing has never been something a person who knew about it would ever seek out. I shouldn't say anything more, however, lest you attract the gaze of something beyond your control. I fear it's a bit to late for that, but regardless, it never hurts to be safe."

....Lyle had no idea what this woman was talking about. He felt like he had a million questions but would get a hundred more even if he got one answered by her. It was like she spoke in riddles? And from her words she seemed privy to knowledge that maybe she shouldn't be.

He wasn't sure how he knew, but he thought he shouldn't inquire too much about the woman or how she acquired this knowledge she seemed to hold.

"Ah, I've made you wary. My apologies, dear boy, I didn't mean to. Sometimes I can't help reverting to my old ways, you see." She bowed her head.

"Oh, no, it's fine." Lyle replied, wanting her to raise her head. He felt like he did something wrong, making a woman like this bow her head...

"No, it's not. Nothing is fine in these troubling times. But that aside, please, come in. My husband is out on errands right now. Perhaps I can entertain you while you wait. He should be back in about three minutes, give or take."

"How--"

"He's a very predictable man, that husband of mine. But I like that. He's steadfast, loyal. You never have to guess or worry about machinations from him." She smiled radiantly, seeming to recall something. "Right, come and have a seat."

Lyle walked in under her her invitation and was led into a large livingroom. From there he was then directed to a sit upon a plush couch.

"Right, I haven't given you my name, have I?" The woman askd suddenly, taking a seat on a chair to his front.

"I don't believe I've had the pleasure." Lyle said in confirmation.

"The let me give it to you now. As you can tell, i'm not of your race, so my name may sound a bit strange to your ears." Then, saying so, she raised a hand to her chest. "This one is known as Meer Alluvianna D'avaris, wife to A'daire D'avaris. You may call Meer." She told him, making a small smile as she introduced herself.

"Meer Alluvianna...A beautiful name. If you put them together, it becomes...Blue Moon Over Still Waters, yes?" Lyle asked, trying to recall whether that was the correct translation.

Meer raised a brow in surprise, appearing pleased. " Yes, you're right. Impressive. Not many would know of our language."

Lyle shook his head. "I wouldn't be so arrogant as to say i know it, exactly. I'm just a bit decent."

"I know old scholars who might not be able to give such an accurate answer. And not a reply like that. Again, you are correct. It would take much longer than your lifetime to truly "know" our language the way we ourselves do. The old tongue is too complex and historied. In fact, aside from languages, that spans a much large area as well. I don't think anyone truly knows anything. We know what we know, nothing more, but even then that knowledge is only skin deep. Still, moving on, to be able to translate my own name like you did...do you have an interest in languages, perhaps?"

"I do." Lyle didn't hide it. " Always have. But I can't say that I have mastered any language. " He then chuckled a bit, saying, " Even my own."

"As to be expected, that. I don't think anyone can have full mastery over any language. It's not simply about knowing words, it's about understanding them, knowing their past, how they evolved and where their roots lie. People underestimate languages, they think it's simply a form of communication when it can be so much more. Words have power, dear boy. In both the literal sense and figurative."

Meer peered at him, examining.

Lyle shook his head. " I'm afraid I only understood about half of that." He said simply, honestly. He had no problems with her talking so much. Her voice was lovely, very soothing to listen to. as well And he also felt he would do well to pay attention.

" Very good. Most would simply nod their head and pretend. Also, the fact you understood that much is commendable. My daughter was the same, the first time I spoke about this to her. Hm, honest, at least. "

"Daughter..." Lyle's gaze unconsciously roved across the room in it's entirety, but found no photo of any sort along the walls. He had wondered what that man's daughter might look like, he couldn't resist. But he noticed that there were no partraits of photos of any kind, at least not of Meer, A'daire or their daughter. This room, this house, was very cosy but felt lacking because it seemed there were no family pictures to be seen.

"Don't waste your time. If words have power, then a picture even more so. Few would know about that, but it's still an old superstition my family has. As such, I don't put up pictures of us along walls or anything of the like. It's personal, you see. Our precious moments...they shouldn't be put on display for the world to see. "

Meer's lips pulled upward, her eyes softening and holding a certain mysteriousness to them in that moment. Lyle didn't pry.

Like before, Lyle didn't fully understand that either. But when he thought of it, she might be onto something.

Moments that you share with your loved ones, even simply a picture of them, should stay in your heart and not--as she said--put on display. Others couldn't appreciate the sentimental value the images would hold, and could not look at the image with that same gaze a loved one could.

"But don't be too disappointed. I feel like you might meet her eventually. She's not exactly like you, she's more headstrong and bullish. But you remind me of her in many ways. You're both creatures of instinct, I can tell. Even for all your knowledge, even if you seem to be a learned gentleman, at your core I feel you would rather trust your gut than some sort of logical reasoning. When it matters, that is. My girl is the same, it's simply that unlike you it seems she isn't as well-balanced. She errs on the side of recklessness, I would say."

She laughed.

"Instructor A'daire said something similar once. I have to say, I feel that I would indeed like to meet her sometime. But whatever happens, happens. If we ever meet then it would be more of a lucky coincidence than anything else, i'm sure."

"Is that so?" Meer asked. " Coincidence, hmm...Then do you not believe in fate?"

" I'm not sure. I believe in possibilties, certainly. At least, I don't think a person's end is prematurely decided against their will. Maybe there are people they are meant to meet or events that happen to them which cannot be stopped. Some things that cannot be changed abd will always happen. But aside from that, I can't say I believe any person is only able to follow along a specific course that the gods or some other higher power make out for them."

Lyle didn't like to think of matters like this. It was confusing and something that he didn't feel was of much importance. Fate or whatever, that seemed like it had nothing to do with him. Maybe it did, but he preferred to simply do as he wished, not letting himself be overly concerned with something like that.

" Perhaps that sort of thinking is best. Personally, I'm the same. Fate may exist, but only in certain cases. My mentor said something similar to what you just did, and explained it to me like this: If life was like a tree, then each branch would represent a possible path which you may take. You can choose which path you tread but there will always exist other "you's" which would have taken some other paths that the "primary you" could have taken, yet didn't. And sometimes fate intervenes, meaning that there are things which will happen in every possible path. Something that will always happen, someone you will always meet, in every reality conceivable. A universal constant. That is what fate truly is. Something that happens regardless of what path you decide."

Lyle was a bit overwhelmed. In the course of a few minutes they had discussed some fairly thought-provoking things, hadn't they? Or at least, that's what it felt life.... He wondered if Meer had some sort of reason for it. Certainly, these topics would not usually pop up in normal light conversation. But then again Meer didn't seem normal at all. Her words from before, too...Exactly what did she know, and how much? Lyle wasn't sure he wanted to find out, and was certain she would't tell him even if he asked.

"Your teacher sounds like a wise woman, then." Lyle said sincerely, gaining a bit of respect for the unknown individual.

"Oh? What makes you think she's a woman?" Meer asked him.

"I guessed. " He offered a shrug. " I've read that the men of your race tend to be more of the physical sort. Becoming guards, warriors, hunters. As for women, they appear to be more scholarly and like to ask questions. If what I read holds any truth, they generally prefer to pursue knowledge and cultivate a sharp mind. So I thought the chances of your mentor being a woman were higher."

"Well, you aren't wrong. That is, as i'm sure you understand, a great generality. But I can't fault you, since your words are correct. Let's leave all these tiresome topic for now. I bet you're getting a bit sick of my long-windedness, no? My apologies. It's simply that my husband isn't one to talk like this with me. He said his head starts to hurt when I go off on tangents."

"No, it's fine. "He waved off her concerns. " I don't know about long-winded, but even if so, your words do make me think. And that's not a bad thing. I quite enjoy speaking to you. Besides, " Lyle smiled faintly. " What man wouldn't like conversing with a disaster-class beauty such as yourself?

Meer also appeared pleased with his words and looked as if she wanted to smile, the corner of her lips twitching slightly. " I like how you slid that in there so smoothly, dear boy. Haha, disaster-class, was it? I can't say I've ever heard the like before. Well I appreciate the sentiment, even if it isn't true."

Lyle folded his legs, peering at her as if she had said something unbelievable. "'Isn't true'?" He echoed. Lyle couldn't let that slide.

"Miss Meer, you seem to underestimate yourself too much. Your beauty is to an extent that if I were a bit older, and you weren't married, I would have half a mind to take you as a wife right now!" This wasn't an exaggeration. Of course he was not so simple as to do that, but he would feel the urge to. He couldn't deny it. From their short conversation, she seemed like a pretty top-notch womaan in all aspects he could think of.

Meer looked at him oddly for a few seconds, seemingly amazed and caught off-guard at his words. A very faint blush, almost unnoticable, appeared on her cheeks. " Hm. I had thought it mere flattery before...." She admitted. Then went on after a moment's hesitation. " But boy...you know, I feel like you'll cause quite a few women some trouble in the future. I truly pity them." She shook her head and sighed, speaking honestly.

Lyle then frowned to himself. Now that he thought of it, he did over do it a bit...

He even felt a small urge to apologize to the old man. It was almost like Lyle was making a pass at the man's wife...

"...Dammit, boy, look at her. Got the woman all flustered. That's not easy to do, you know! What are you, a homewrecker? Ah, I come back and find my precious disciple getting all flirty with my wife. I knew it. This brat, even capable of getting such a reaction from that woman, is just too damn luck--Ah, no, I mean, too despicable. I feel the sudden urge to beat him?"

At that moment, a tall and menacing figure appeared in the room.

****************************

AN: Just for reference,I had always imagined Cecelia's armor as looking like this:
http://www.deviantart.com/art/female-leather-armor-273099888

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