Written from the perspective of Cinder Fall
Summary: Cinder has never been a baths. A free voucher to a weekend hot springs getaway, pickpocketed courtesy of Emerald, may change her mind about that. The only catch is this: it's for couples only.
"Look! Tickets to a hot springs!" She pushed the pair of tickets into my hands. I considered scorching them for a moment but I'd rather not get ash on my dress. Emerald had acquired a pair of tickets. Her sticky fingers had gotten her some prizes once again and, as usual, she was unloading anything that wasn't lien onto me.
"I hate water."
"But this time the water is hot. You know? Because you like hot things?"
I looked over the back and the fine print. Rather than fine print, it was in big bold letters. There was frivolous pink heart that said 'Couples Only Special - One Romantic Weekend Free'.
"Emerald, you realize this says it's…"
"Well-anyways-got-to-go-me-and-Mercury-are-going-to-get-some-ice-cream-and-you-can-find-someone-else-to-go-with-you-right-okay-that's-cool-bye!" Emerald said that in a lightning flash before she grabbed Mercury's hand and bolted out the door. On her way down the hall, she screamed back, "I got you those tickets so I'm free for the weekend, yeah!?"
She didn't wait for a reply.
I walked out of the doorway and stared at the trail of wind and dust she left in her wake. The pair of tickets were still in my hand. Looking at them, I considered briefly how boring Beacon was. Perhaps a trip to some remote hot springs was not a bad idea. However, the issue remained of a suitable partner… preferably one of lower intellect and obedient to every command.
"Nora… why do I have to carry all these plushies?"
"Pyrrha is popular! Therefore her plushies will be popular! Profit, Jaune!"
There was a girl with a glint of madness in her eyes leading a beaten boy down the hallway carrying boxes. The boy looked rather feeble, though he was reliable enough to do some heavy lifting. Perfect.
"Excuse me," I said waving a hand at the girl. "I am Cinder. I'm interested in borrowing your friend for the weekend."
"Hm… a button."
"I want a button and Jaune's all yours."
This girl was insane. "Okay," I said as I popped the top button of my collar. Handing it to her, she nodded. The transaction was complete.
"Jaune you can drop the boxes now."
"Really? Oh thank goodness, I was wondering why we weren't moving...H-hey! Who are you? Let go! Nora! Save me! Gahh!" The boy was screaming as I dragged him by the hood in the direction of the dormitory exit.
"Bye Jaune! I'll tell Pyrrha you're having an affair!"
After bounding, gagging, tossing him into the airship, and giving the pilot a sweet smile, we were at the hot springs resort within the hour. It looked rather elegant and posh but also old fashioned and rustic. There was a very rural charm to it that felt refreshing away from the thick and stale air of the city.
It also helped the air had a strong smell of sulfur.
"Gah! Where are we? Why does it smell like rotten eggs? Wh-where are you? And who you!? Was I kidnapped? Pyrrha? Pyrrha! Save me!"
This idiot. I gave him a kick before I pulled a burlap sack over his head. Dragging him inside I approached the front desk. "The couple's special coupon," I said. The elderly desk attendant gave me a look and my burlap sack lover, said nothing, and gave me the keys to the room before guiding us to our suite.
"Please enjoy your stay," the attendant said while the boy protested in the sack. She gave a short bow and before closing the door offered, "if you need anything, please ask the front desk."
With that, I was alone. Well, I was alone with a boy with a burlap sack over his head.
Guess I'll let him have some air.
"Wh-who are you!?"
"Cinder. And you are going to be a good boy and enjoy this getaway and then you're going to forget about it, understood?" I bought a palm to his cheek and stroked my dust-heated fingers.
"Y-yes," he stammered.
"Good. I'd like to take a dip," I said. "Be a good boy and turn around will you?" Well, this Jaune was obedient. Wonderful, I thought as slipping out of my dress and into a robe. "Now be a dear and carry my soap and fragrances for me, will you?" I gave him a quick snap of my fingers and he carried a small basket with the necessary ointments. This was working out much better than I could imagine.
He followed me along to the bath where I had him wait outside, sitting on his knees.
The mineral enriched waters was rather refreshing. The soft heat was just enough to excite my skin but the cool air left me wanting to soak for hours. After a while I decided that was enough for the day. When I exited the bath, I found him still seated on his knees with a strained face.
"Oh. You're still here?"
"Y-You told me not to move!"
He's so obedient. Like a dog… just lovely.
"Come along now. I suppose you deserve some dinner," I said. The boy handed me a toy. "Oh my. How courteous and prepared," I said as I dabbed my ears and hair with it.
Returning to the room, I found the table spread with various delicacies from the four kingdoms. Amazing how well those living within the kingdoms can gorge on meat and dairy so freely.
I took a pair of chopsticks and took a slice of raw fish.
"Tuna?" I offered.
"No thank you."
I gave him a frown. "Why not? I don't believe you've eaten all day. Oh, trust me. I might singe you a little but I certainly don't bite."
The boy took a moment before replying. "Frankly ma'am, you terrify me."
The boy sighed. "You kidnapped me."
"Oh. I did didn't I? Ah well," I said tasting the tuna. "How about a cucumber roll?"
"... you don't care that you just committed a felony do you?"
"This spicy dragon roll is to die for…" The hot and spicy sauce was perfectly seasoned to my liking.
"I… I'm going to die aren't I?"
I shrugged. "Maybe. Nobody lives forever. But you only live once and you have to try some of his pufferfish... " I offered him a tray of white fish slices arranged in a blossom of death. "They say only master chefs can prepare this. A slice drop of puffer fish poison is enough to stun the nerves and cause you to die of asphyxiation within minutes."
He shook his head, a look of terror on his face.
"Suit yourself," I said helping myself.
"Uh… I'm going to take a wild guess and say running away is out of the question, right?"
"Smart boy," I replied as I took a sip of soup.
"I've been told otherwise…"
The boy was rubbing his belly and watching me eat. It was becoming rather annoying. Ah, well the remedy for that is simple. "I command you eat. Eat."
"Yes, ma'am," the boy said. He was still terrified as he took a pair of chopsticks. "How the heck do you use these things… who decided the best utensil to eat rice grains was two sticks?"
"How unrefined," I commented.
"Says the criminal mastermind!"
"H-how did you know?" Wait. Did this boy discover who I really was?
The boy tilted his head in confusion. "You kidnap someone and nobody dares stop you and you're wondering why someone would call you a criminal mastermind?"
"Yeah, that's right. Oh! Man, forget this." He began stabbing the cucumber rolls with a chopstick, making a skewer. "This is how you're suppose to eat," he said as he began chewing through it like a corn on a cob.
"... you're not popular with the ladies are you?"
"Nope. My mom says I have the eating mannerisms of a boar."
"Well, you're as obedient as a dog."
"Man, if I was corgi then maybe Weiss would look at me."
"You're going to need a more extreme makeover than that to get a girl's attention."
"Yeah I… wait… why am I having a nice dinner with my kidnapper about my girl problems?"
Taking a large shrimp, I peeled the shell. "Beats me."
"You know what Cinder? You're not so bad."
I laughed. "Trust me, I'm terrible. I'm diabolically evil."
"Nah. You're just misunderstood. You know what you are? You're a strong independent and fiery woman who don't need no man."
"All your life men have told you you were beautiful. That you were the most gorgeous and ravishing sight that they've ever seen in their entire, pitiful, miserable lives."
That was true… "Yes…"
"So you didn't come on this trip to some random hot springs resort in… where are we again?"
"North of Forever Falls."
"Like an hour bus ride away?"
"More or less."
"Yeah, you didn't come on this resort to relax. You came to get away from men! And Cinder, tell me. What did you bring with you on this trip?"
"That's right! You don't need him! You need liberation! Freedom!"
I slammed my hand on the table. "You're absolutely, right. I dont need no man."
"Great, I'm going home. See you."
"Bye," I said as I tried some of the fried shredded beef. I enjoyed the rest of the meal alone but the chilled food tasted colder. Even the hot soup felt a bit too cool for my taste.
Did he… just… Oh. That little…
I lifted myself and went to the balcony. Looking out, I saw in the distance, a blonde chasing after the last bus back to Vale proper. He was screaming his head off to let him on saying some crazy woman had kidnapped him and had problems with men.
That little… I have no problems with men!
I'm just missing one little boy. I leaned over the balcony rail and rested my chin on my palm. I had no problems capturing him the first time. The second time should be a cakewalk.
I wonder if Emerald could find more 'couples only coupon specials'?