Wein and Carmaine

Carmaines' eyes darted toward Wein as he entered the forests' opening. He let a small sigh of relief escape his pale lips and finally shook his head in disbelief. "For someone with determination…you sure took your time getting here." Carmaine teased, gesturing lightly.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to…It's a long story. I hope I didn't keep the group waiting too long. They aren't mad with me are they?" Wein fretted.

"It's worse. They got so impatient with you that they continued on their way to the check point a head." He politely informed his captain.

"Impatient…? Ahh…" Wein looked away awkwardly. "So then, why are you still here?" He questioned.

Carmaine was a little taken back by the question and wasn't sure how to answer exactly. "Um, well. Someone had to stay behind. And after about a day of waiting I had my doubts. You really do know how to make a guy worry a bout you." His eyes suddenly went cold and he glared behind Wein. "Wein!"

Wein spun around and readied his golden scythe. "Is someone there, Carmaine?" Wein's eyes dashed to every open area with the forest but he saw nothing. Carmaine didn't move from his spot, still searching the trees and bushes for invaders.

"There!" He suddenly jumped Wein and forced him to the ground as a few arrows flew past them. One seemingly planted itself into Carmaines shoulder, he flinched then the two rolled separate ways and lay still behind rocks ten feet away from one another. "Damn it!" Carmaine shouted in anger. "They must have followed you"

Wein saw the arrow and caringly looked up at Carmaine. "Are you alright? I'm sorry I should've been paying more attention."

"Yes, I'm fine. But this is no time to talk. Wein! We must either escape or engage in battle. Decide before we're plummeted with more anonymous arrows." He suggested rashly.

"Um…How's your shoulder, can you fight? It looks as though there are only three Bow mans and two Swords men…we can take them!"

"You're right, if they escape they'll inform their leader of our check point, and that'll put the other's in danger. Let's Go!" Carmaine suddenly ripped the arrow out of his shoulder, wounding the firm flesh around it badly but he paid no mind to it and jumped out from behind the rock. Wein followed, rolling close to the ground then jumping to his feet.

"Why did you follow me you dogs." Wein demanded an answer and instead got a bombardment of arrows. He side stepped, dodging them all. "Fine then! No answer, then no mercy!" He dashed toward a Swords man and struck him down with one critical blow. Carmaine had already struck down on fleeing Bow man and was hot on the trail of another.

"Carmaine" Wein started then swung his scythe and was blocked by a shield. "We have to hurry, I'm sure reinforcements are on their way!" Then suddenly the swords man slashed hitting Wein hard in the arm. He yelped and was thrown to the ground.

Carmaine gasped and finished off the last Bow man with a vicious stab in the chest. "Wein, stand up or he'll finish you!" He begun chanting a spell in his mind and only mumbled nothing slightly. The Swords Man circled Wein as he was bent over in pain. Then Carmaine finally chanted it fully and elegantly waved his hand to the sky. A warm light engulfed both Wein and himself, healing their wounds and leaving nasty scars. As the Swords man swung his sword down he growled as he realized he had missed and his sword only pierced the dirt. Wein on the other hand had slid out of the way and found himself behind the soldier. He wrapped his scythe around the soldiers' neck and slashed. Carmaine got the full intense view. He flinched when he saw the waterfall of blood pour out of the dead body. Then he raised his eyebrow as the body hit the ground and Wein was fully visible still in his finishing pose.

"How amusing, Wein sometimes you seize to amaze me. But you're still foolish! As a soldier you should be able to deal with a little pain! Hasn't your training taught you anything?" Carmaine lectured poking him repeatedly in the shoulder. "Huh? Well! Say something"

"Err…sorry. I just…Ya I've been able to with stand punches and anonymous poison arrows but…I don't know…I've never really been fully wounded before. You think I'm weak…don't you"

Carmaine sighed and with held his poking, which he secretly had a pleasurable time doing. "No. You did destroy Gevas and saved the world from becoming Max's puppets…I think you're a fine soldier." He paused then closed his eyes and shook his head. "Um, you just need to toughen up a little more and…"

"Alright, I get it. Geeze." Wein looked to the sky. "Well, before it gets dark…shall we get moving?"

"Fine by me." Carmaine walked off through a clearing in the trees. "It's this way, come on then."

"Right."

Charlone and Arieta

"Doesn't it feel good to eat such good food after those small rations we had out on the field?" Arieta questioned as she ate excitedly and sipped her orange juice now and then. "I just love orange juice but don't you agree, Sereb"

"I'd say the best thing that's happened to me thus far is the fact that I've finally gotten out of that Tower and am fully energized….but Yes. This food does taste quite nice." He lowered his snout into a bowl of stew and licked elegantly its contents.

"It is too bad Wein and Carmaine are missing this." Arieta lifted her buttered bun and took a small bite out of it.

"Bah, Wein choose to be late and Carmaine choose to wait for him. Besides, we can enjoy a lovely meal, without the captain, Carmaine, loud mouth, Riviera and Xenos every now and then, can't we?" Charlone added.

"It is nice to have a smaller group. I get more lines that way." Sereb interrupted, he laughed whole heartedly and sipped more of his drink.

"Oh my, Charlone. I believe Sereb is…um…wasted?" Arieta poked him and he giggled a little more. "Dear me, I've never seen him like this before. He's always so serious. What should we do"

"Hmm, just let him drink till he drops. I fear separating him from his booze might cause him to become very angry." Charlone tasted the salad with delight and continued as she sprinkled bits of cheese into it. "Anyway, Arieta…would you like to go to the casino downtown tonight? I've never been there and I'd like to try my luck…please accompany me?"

"Oh that sounds wonderful. And can we visit that new accessories vender afterwards? I saw a beautiful broach that would look lovely on you. Please allow me to purchase it for you." Arieta smiled gleefully and finished her meal.

"An accessory? May I gamble too?" Sereb slurred his words and tilted his head thinking he was speaking properly.

"Sereb...!"

Charlone stood up and grabbed Arieta, holding her close and smiling. "Ok Sereb, if you can keep up that is." She left holding Arieta's hand. Arieta, as quick as she could, grabbed another bun and was yanked out the door.

Sereb whimpered and tried to follow but his vision blurred and he gave up. He lay on the ground and drifted into a pleasurable sleep.

Xenos and Riviera

"Has a letter been sent to the King yet?" Riviera inquired Xenos. He turned and nodded. His red bangs covered the features of his face.

"I believe so. At least Hans told me that a messenger was sent." He gazed at her womanly body and felt a small blush in his cheeks form. He sat across from her at a wooden table and drank his herbal tea silently, not sure how to approach conversation.

"I see." Riviera noticed his blush and smiled slightly. "Um Xenos…" She started then rethought what she was going to ask him. She shook her head and laughed at herself. "Never mind"

What am I doing! I can't do this…I'm a shadow knight I've sworn to… but I can't deny my feelings.

Her thought was cut short by the arrival of more drinks. Xenos thanked the waiter and took them politely handing Riviera hers and slowly tasting his. "Hmm, there was something I didn't get earlier that you seemed to. I was wondering if you might be able to clear it up for me."

"Oh? What is it that you are referring to?" She asked, getting a little interested in what Xenos couldn't understand. He sighed and removed his arm, figuring this conversation would make his feel warm enough as it is.

"It was actually something Carmaine said. Before we all left…"

"Carmaine"

"Yes…Um I believe it was, 'I've decided to stay and be there for him, I've always wanted him to look up to me like he does those imperial knights. I want to impress him. So you all go a head and I'll wait here for his return.'…and he was referring to Wein, right"

Riviera giggled slightly. "Of course." She said knowingly, "You don't understand because you like women."

"Well…" He blushed and couldn't look Riviera in the eyes. "Yes, of course I like women but what does that-" He was cut off bluntly by Riviera's soft voice.

"Carmaine doesn't"

"I beg your pardon"

"Yup. It's so obvious too. Him and Wein both"

"Wein too?" Xenos gulped down some tea and shook his head. "I'm still a little confused. I'm not quite sure I really understand"

"Well, I'll explain it better. From what I've observed thus far…Carmaine wants Wein to like him. He feels too embarrassed to tell Wein himself so he tries sending signals to get Wein to break first. Wein on the other hand is totally oblivious, but he truly does like Carmaine and it's driving him crazy on the inside." Riviera smiled as she saw Xenos shift uncomfortably.

"How long have you been observing them?" He questioned in a sort of mutter.

"That's my little secret…and they aren't the only ones I've been watching." She stood up and finished her drink then placed a small tip and some money to pay for about half the bill. Then she bent over and kissed him gently on the cheek and walked out winking at him. Xenos's cheeks flushed to match the same color as his crimson hair. He almost choked on his tea and then he sat in silence. Furiously embarrassed.

Riviera leaned against the bar's door, blushing intensely slso. He took a small breath and walked off to the Inn.

I kissed him. I know I shouldn't but. I can't deny myself anylonger. I just can't. I know my feelings and I want my only life too. I can do my job and have a life at the same time.

"Wow. Wein and Carmaine are fence walkers." Xenos stated, too shocked to say anything else.