"This is the final instance in which I shall verbally dictate for you to cease your chatter, lest I apply my considerable arcane abilities to silence your incessant tongue instead of simple words."

The day had begun with the Order of the Stick arriving at Tinkertown. Vaarsuvius had gone to multiple magical item shops in search of a teleport orb, and Belkar had tailed the elf to the shop so he could pick up some anti-Durkon equipment. The two attempted to board the airship, having completed their shopping, but the gnome engineers were busy working on the Mechane, and shooed them off until the repairs were done.

Belkar threatened to gut one of the workers until they relented and let Mr. Scruffy come on board to rest. Naturally, BlackWing made a scene about not being allowed on and how the discrimination was just outrageous and- long story short the gnomes let him on board too, provided they stay out of the way of the repairs.

The two decided to find a place to eat, and after a long search Belkar managed to find a restaurant that was good enough for his "delicate sense of taste". And now the two were sitting at said restaurant, having finished their meal and paid. They simply sat idly at the table, not sure what to do now. For Vaarsuvius the answer was simple- they simply cracked open a book and began reading.

Unfortunately for the elf Belkar did not have the attention span for that.

"It's not MY fault there isn't jack shit to do here. They could at least have given us a hooker or two or left me with someone who doesn't have a stick up their ass."

"There is nothing contracting you to remain here, as you have completed your meal and paid. Also, I possess no such sti-"

"Yeah, yeah, shut up, Ears. Nobody cares."

"Considering you have just now presented the subject, you are proven incorrect -unsurprisingly, as that appears to be the unvaried result of your thinking if I may allow you the privilege of referring to it as such. By bringing to attention any aspect of fiction or reality, you demonstrate consideration of said information."

The big words and confusing phrasing slowed his response. "The hell is THAT supposed to mean?! You sayin' I care or something?"

"I could venture as far as to imply that you seem to have a twisted perception of the proper location of timber, and thus are demonstrating your innate lack of intelligence on even the most simplistic of knowledges, but I would not dare go as far as to infer that you have any semblance of emotion capable of the kindness and consideration that would be required in order to thus 'care' for another individual."

"Well, you're right about that." He spoke, relieved. Upon seeing Vaarsuvius's smug grin he hastily corrected himself. "The last part, I mean. Asshole."

The elf turned back to their book as if this had proven their point and they had won. Apparently they were wrong. "Hey. Ears. I'm not done talking to you."

The elf sighed and rubbed a temple. "May I expend a moment to inquire why it is that you insist on making yourself such a nuisance when all I desire is quiet?"

"Eh, you're fun when you're mad, and I got nothing better to do." He lazily played with the remains of his food, flicking the crumbs with his fingers.

"You derive entertainment from the physical suffering of an Explosive Runes? Or rather the loss of your daggers consequent of an impressive invisibility spell?"

"Goddammit that was you?!"

"Which individual amongst our party would have been capable of the extensive intellect and knowledge necessary to have cast such a spell? Puzzling, perhaps √Član is the culprit."


"Regardless, the spell should reach its expiration within the next rotation of the planet."

"You better hope it lasts longer than that for your sake."

"Your pitiful threats do not intimidate me." Vaarsuvius turned the page of their book and once again tried to ignore the halfling.

"Whatcha reading?" Belkar peered over the table to see the book.

"A scripture undoubtedly of knowledge far outside the realm of possibility and too complex for your feeble mind."

"Sounds boring."

"Perhaps to you the unraveled secrets of the universe would be. Morbid activities such as murdering the faculty of this establishment for not prioritizing you first or pillaging this town would more likely entertain your sadistic mind."

"See, now we're talking."

A sigh. Vaarsuvius stood up and shut their book. "Perhaps we should depart, we are providing unease."

Belkar looked around, and sure enough the gnomes were all but shivering in their seats, eyeing them warily. He chuckled to himself before getting up. "Alright, alright. So where to?"

"I fail to understand the question."

"Did I stutter? Where are we going?"

"'We'? I recall no binding contract which dictates we remain in such a proximity to be considered as sharing each other's company." Vaarsuvius began to exit the building with Belkar by their side.

"Got nothing better to do."

"And I am presented the luxurious delight at being the default venue for your entertainment?"

"Don't think of it like that. I like to think I'm being nice."

"Really." The wizard deadpanned as they walked outside.

"Yeah. I didn't stab you with the silverware while we were eating, did I? Even if the food was a little too salty and they should have just let me cook instead."

"Truly you are a saint."

"So what are we doing?"

"I shall depart to a quiet area of study in which I may continue the analyzation of this text. You will subsequently be left to your own devices -undoubtedly those of a macabre nature." As soon as they stopped talking Vaarsuvius stiffened for a fraction of a second. The green sprig of mistletoe dangling from the archway they were close to passing under had caught the elf's eye. A sweat drop ran down the elf's forehead and their eyes widened.

Belkar continued to walk on, and replied to the conversation Vaarsuvius had forgotten about. "Well, hey, if yo-"

Vaarsuvius stopped cold and extended an arm out in front of him. "P-Perhaps we should venture elsewhere, the shoreline for example."

The halfling stopped and looked up at them, his face confused. "Uh, sure...? What's got you so pale?"

"You have on numerous occasions noted upon my light skin tone, this should serve no surprise." Vaarsuvius continued to look forward, and dropped their arm back to their side.

"No -I mean, you're paler than usual."

"I simply prefer that we not travel any further down this particular trail and therefore suggest we vacant the premises."

"What's wrong with going that way?"

"Nothing, save for the festive season's decor and customs that appallingly are still widely in effect. Otherwise that path appears to be no different from any other." Vaarsuvius met his eye, and saw from that that he had no idea what they were talking about.

After a single beat he responded, pointing forward in the direction they were walking. "So, this way?"

Vaarsuvius's temper broke, and they rounded on him. "No, you fool! NOT that way! Do you fail to see the vegetation hanging from the archway that would dictate by festive customs for us to act in an inappropriate intimate fashion?!"

He looked at the arch in question for a moment and then smirked at the elf. Either he had really not known about the mistletoe or he had been hoping the elf wouldn't notice. "Scared of a little mistletoe?"

"Rather I would prefer to avoid the consequences of standing under said decoration." Vaarsuvius spoke distastefully, scrunching their nose up a little.

"Yeah, it is a little cliché." Belkar admitted.

"Will you now yield to avoiding this particular pathway?"

"I dunno, I think we should walk under it." Belkar shrugged.

Vaarsuvius broke out in a blush and went wide-eyed. They continued looking ahead; deliberately avoiding looking at the halfling. Belkar seemed to enjoy the reaction, as he had a grin plastered to his face. After a beat Vaarsuvius responded, unmoving. "You realize what that would entail."

"Yeah." He replied casually.

"Therefore I assume you jest."

"Nope." His smirk widened a little.

Vaarsuvius eyed him, equally nervous and confused. "If I am to comprehend this accurately...-"

"It's really not that complicated, V." Belkar interrupted, raising his eyebrows dully at the mage.

"Perhaps you would rather depart to the shoreline? Or instead might we check upon the progression of the ship's repairs and welfare of our respective animal companions?" Vaarsuvius looked over their shoulder, growing flustered.

"Nah, pretty sure this is fine. You honestly telling me you don't want a piece of the Belkster?"

"Perhaps you consumed an alcoholic beverage while I was unaware." Vaarsuvius looked back at the halfling, their expression more condescending than anything.

"Nah, though today would probably be more fun if I had..." He shrugged, "so are you coming?"

Put back on the spot, Vaarsuvius looked over their shoulder again and, blushing, looked around. "That would be an irrational and idiotic action."

Belkar chuckled, "hey, quit using all those big words, just gimme a yes or no."

Vaarsuvius -if at all possible- blushed even more fiercely. The elf remained frozen, eventually whispering more to themself than anything. "Perhaps..."