Rasche squinted into the blinding sunlight, bored out of his mind. He recently joined the Talon Squad, thinking each day would be packed with adventure and battle, but now that the Witch Conflict was over and the beast fiends were gone, life was pretty boring… well, boring for him at least. An itch began to crawl up his right side, but he couldn't move. He was supposed to be an iron wall. Even though this was the Talon Squad, not the Tusk Squad. Rasche sighed, weighing the odds of Richter letting him take a break. "All right men, everything seems to be fine here," Richter's haughty, arrogant voice spoke up. "You may take a break, but we will meet back here at around 9." Finally, Rasche thought. Within seconds, the Talon Squad had dispersed, and Rasche was left alone at the square in Mistia. He sat down and let his mind wander.

"Miss Dia!" a high-pitched voice snapped him out of his thoughts. "Miss Dia!"

"What?!" he heard the slightly annoyed witch leader snap.

"Can I have your autograph?" Dia groaned in exasperation. Rasche burst out laughing.

"Later, ok?!" He saw a rather short girl run away. Dia glanced over in his direction and waved. Rasche returned the wave, only to see a rather short boy running up to her.

"Miss Dia!" he called. Dia groaned again.

"What now?!" Rasche couldn't help noticing dark circles under her eyes.

"Is it true you traveled with the legendary Master Roland?"

"Yeah yeah, he's great and all." Rasche stood up and walked up to him.

"Because, you see, I wanted to be a master just like him someday, and—"

"Listen, kid," Rasche interrupted. "You know Master Roland? Not as great as you think." Dia stifled a laugh. The boy glared at him.

"How would you know?!" he defended angrily. "Master Roland is amazing! You're just a measly old knight in one of the knight squads. You're just jealous of Master Roland!"

"I can kick his ass any day," Rasche replied smoothly.

"Have you even fought him before?!" Rasche waved his hand dismissively.

"Oh, loads of times! He's my brother." The boy's eyes widened in shock.

"He… he… Master Roland is your… your… your brother?!" Rasche smirked.

"Little brother, I might add." The boy backed away slowly, suddenly realizing his mistake.

"W-Well… in that case… sorry!" And with that, he took off, never looking back. Rasche smiled and cracked his knuckles.

"Works every time!"

"He's not really your brother, you know other kid?" Dia pointed out. Rasche rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, whatever." Dia sighed.

"Well I guess I should get going. Bye Rasche." Rasche smiled as he heard her say his name.

"Dia," she stopped dead in her tracks. "You really should take a break, you know. You look exhausted.

"Thank you for your concern, but I don't have the time." Rasche quickly scanned the area and saw the gondolas near the Bell of Silence.

"Hey, how about a gondola ride?" Dia whirled around.

"Whaat?!" Rasche smirked.

"Wanna go? It'll be fun!" Dia blushed a bright shade of crimson.

"But… but I… I have to work… and…"

"Nonsense!" Rasche put his arm around her and pulled her over to the line near the gondolas. "You need to relax, and what better way to relax than a gondola ride?" Dia mumbled something incoherent in agreement, her face still quite red.


"Hey Althea, wanna go on a gondola ride?" Roland asked casually. The White Flame witch smacked him upside the head.

"You idiot!" she yelled. "How many times do I have to tell you?! People who ride a gondola together become lovers!" To her surprise, Roland started laughing. "If you don't mind me asking, Master Roland, what exactly is so funny?!"

"Althea, has Miss Dia ever had a boyfriend?"

"No… why?"

"She does now!" Roland pointed to a specific gondola carrying Rasche and Dia. Althea's jaw dropped open as she saw her teacher in the arms of her boyfriend's older brother. It wasn't long before she joined in the laughter.

A little later…

Rasche and Dia stepped off the gondola and walked over to the ice cream parlor… yes his arm was still around her. "See?" he asked. "That was fun, wasn't it?" Dia blushed again and nodded. "Let's go get some ice cream. I'll pay." Dia blushed a deeper shade of red.

"Thanks Rasche…" Rasche had no idea what was wrong with her today. She kept blushing and stuttering ever since he asked her to go on a gondola ride with him! "Hey, isn't that Roland and Althea?" Rasche turned to where she was pointing, and saw his brother and the White Flame Witch still laughing together. He waved to them, and they waved back.

"Rasche, what were you thinking?" Roland asked in between laughs.

"Huh?" was all he managed to get out. Althea giggled like a sugar-high kid.

"Miss Dia, you actually agreed to go on a gondola ride with him? That's soooooo cute!"

"You tell anyone and I'll take away your fire crest and your status as an elemental witch!" Dia yelled, still blushing. Suddenly, Luna walked up to them.

"Hey Dia," she greeted. "Hey Rasche, Roland, Althea. Dia, I know I told you to get yourself a guy, but I didn't think you'd get yourself that guy!" She pointed to Rasche.

"Will someone please explain to me what's going on?!" Rasche asked, somewhat annoyed now.

"Rasche, didn't you know?" Roland asked.

"Know what?"

"If a man and a woman go on a gondola ride together…"

"They're destined to become lovers!" Althea finished. Now it was Rasche's turn to blush.


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