AN: Last week was the Faberry Week wasn't it? I just realized recently that it was also the first one where I participated in each day (if only a bit late for one of the themes) and I'm quite proud about that.
Princess Quinn doesn't know how to feel about news that Rachel gives her. She'd long given up on hope and the prospect of living a long life, but regardless of her personal feelings on the matter she had made Rachel a promise. They ventured out to the furthest regions of the kingdom until Rachel brought them to the ports.
There she began to look around, but seemed unable to find whatever it was she was seeking. She then led Quinn to one of the docks which held a tiny boat and had an elderly man sitting off the edge of the dock beside it. The pair got off their horses and slowly approached the man.
"Excuse me, sir," Rachel said, gaining his attention. "The other day there was a man around here," she told him, taking a seat off the side of the dock with him. "He was talking about a fountain of youth. We were wondering if perhaps…" She was off by the man's cackling. Rachel's features contorted in confusion and Quinn got at the ready to pull Rachel away at the first sign of danger.
"I wouldn't trust him, if I were you stranger," he warned. "The boy's a swindler, he is; he always comes around with some sort of fantastical tale. Never tells more about it though, unless you're willing to pay." That was all Quinn needed. She grasped onto Rachel's shoulder.
"It's a dead end Rachel. We can try something else," she suggested. Rachel considered her words for a second before shaking her head and turning back to the elderly man.
"Please sir. My friend is very ill. This fountain could save her life. Will you please help us," she pleaded. Whatever remained of his laughter died down. His shoulders slumped as his expression softened.
"That desperate, huh?" he sighed. "Very well." He turned away from the reluctantly pointed them in the right direction. "He typically hangs out at this tavern. Go that way and take the third left turn you see. It shouldn't be too hard to find."
"Thank you, sir."
They mounted their horses and left in the direction that the man hand pointed them in. Down three streets they took a left as instructed and found a dingy looking tavern. The illegible sign that hung off from the front would squeak with the blowing wind. The windows wore an opaque layer of dirt and grime. This was not the typical kind of place where either girl would normally spend their time. Rachel entered cautiously with Quinn following behind.
The inside of the establishment was not much of an improvement from the outside. It was dark, it's only light coming from the windows and a few gas lamps scattered throughout the area. The tavern's patrons consisted of men, many of which had tattoos on them. The two girls garnered a few questioning looks before the men returned their attention to their drinks.
The atmosphere of the place made Quinn slightly uneasy. She wasn't dumb; she knew that her kingdom had criminals just like any other. Of course both Quinn and Rachel had taken extensive archery and swordsmanship lessons, but without a weapon they'd be defenseless in things took a wrong turn. She kept a vigilant eye up as Rachel searched for the man she had seen before. They weaved between customers, slowly making their way to the back.
Off in the corner, Rachel spotted him. He was tall if somewhat skinny. And by the look of his clothes, he looked out of place with those surrounding him and their tattered garments. He seemed to bathe in attention, if his current over-exaggerated tale of a creature with the body of a lion, the head of a goat with a serpent for a tail was any sign. If anything good (or slightly good) could be said about him, it would be that his swindling had apparently done him decent.
"Excuse me," Rachel interrupted as the two of them approached. The man looked up at her, the smallest amount of intrigue crossing his features. "I'm sorry to bother you, but the other day I heard you talking about a fountain of youth." He nodded and motioned for his friends, or associates, or whatever they were to him, to vacant the area. When gone, he gestured to the empty seats which Rachel and Quinn casually took.
"Let me guess," he started. "You want to know where to find it?" he smirked cockily. Quinn hated him already.
"Yes," Rachel answered.
"It's going to cost you."
The tall man brought a hand to his chin, stroking the bare skin there as he thought of an appropriate amount. Neither Rachel nor Quinn felt too good about the quirk in his lips that formed as he inspected their attire. He knew what he was doing. And although their current clothing was not of royal make, it did exhibit a sense of wealth. Needless to say, the girls weren't too thrilled with the idea of paying this man for some worthless information even if they could match any price he was to demand.
"Fifty gold pieces should do quite nicely."
"Fifty?!" Rachel screamed. "That's outrageous!"
"Done." Quinn tossed a pouch with the correct amount of coins onto the table. Rachel looked shocked while the man eyed the bag curiously. He lifted it up, measuring its weight.
"May I?" he asked as he readied to empty its contents.
"Go ahead, you'll find it matches your demands exactly." And so he did. He piled the gold coins in stacks of ten; both pleased and surprised to find it was all there. He placed his payment back in the pouch and tied it to belt.
"I must say that this is quite interesting. With this kind of coin you pay some the kingdom's best healers to cure what ails you. Why seek out the fountain?"
"None of your business," Rachel replied sourly. "You have your money, tell us what we want."
"If that's what you want. Take the Eastern most exit out of the kingdom," he instructed. "Follow the path until you reach a fork in the road. Take the second to last path on your right. That should lead you to a small village. The people there should be able to help you with the rest. It's a day's journey, less if you have a good horse."
"That's it?" Rachel asked incredulously. "That's all you have?" Quinn could see how she was suppressing her anger. She could tell, even without seeing it, how Rachel was clenching her fists and grinding her teeth. She was ready to pounce at any time for the lack of information that this man had given them.
The tall man only smirked and beckoned his associates back over; their hands dangerously close to their weapons. He said nothing, only gestured to the door. Rachel glared at before exiting with Quinn. She grumbled as they got back on their horses. "I can't believe it. He doesn't even know where it is," she complained aloud.
"It's a start at least."
"So, you want to follow this?"
"Yeah," Quinn answered, if only for Rachel's sake. Rachel smiled. "But first we need to get some weapons."
AN: So not much really happened here, but I'm making my way up to the action. And I'd still appreciate suggestions for what other Gleeks could show up as.
On an unrelated note, I may break my streak of writing only Faberry fics so I can write Bechloe one. I haven't shipped anything as much as Faberry until Bechloe.