Tales of Brave Vesperia: A Bargin
Karol had long since called it a night, and left Dahngrest's eastern most tavern as both Yuri and Judith nursed a couple of after dinner drinks. He had to get up early and see about finishing paperwork to gain official Guild recognition.
Rapede curled up snuggly under a wooden table where an empty bowl lie forgotten as he slept off his meal. Yuri lounged in a chair with his feet out and crossed at his ankles. Clenched between both hands was a menu as he studiously scanned the desserts.
Judith on the other hand seemed content to just people-watch. A nearly empty glass teetered between her long fingers as her rose colored eyes lazily watched patrons come and go. However, there was one location her gaze was repeatedly drawn, and her slightly amused expression turned mildly contemplative.
In a dimly lit corner of the bar, beads of sparkling condensation fell from a tall pitcher of a frothy brew. Judy watched as a man with a dark cowl thrown back over his shoulders nursed a mug only half filled with amber liquid.
With his hood pulled back, Judith absently wondered if the hair that fell over his ears and shoulders was a limey blond or pale green. But that wasn't what most intrigued her. Despite his hunched posture, the man's movements were incredibly efficient. Even the simple act of pouring himself more beer was done without any needless motion.
Judith grinned. She finished off the remains of her cocktail and slowly, yet deliberately rose from the table.
"Where you off to?" Yuri's dark grey eyes peeked over the menu curiously.
"Refill," Judith said holding out a glass between her slender gloved fingers. "And a little bit of mingling."
Yuri took a token scan around the nearly empty bar and shrugged his shoulders-noticing nothing in particular. "Hm," and turned back to his menu as Judith sauntered over to the bar.
She received a refill with a nod of thanks to the, pleasantly laid back, bartender before unabashedly approaching the man that caught her eye.
The Hunting Blades' second in command, Tison, felt the cold bubbly brew wash over his tongue and down his throat. He set his frosted mug down with a silent sigh laced with the scent of alcohol. He'd earned every last drop, and planned to savor an entire pitcher of beer by himself.
A clingy apprentice entering the first stages of puberty along with the guild's current financial situation had worn him down to the bone over the past couple of months. While he could do nothing about Nan's coming of age aside from waiting out the proverbial storm, Tison had come up with a fantastic solution to the his guild's money woes— although a bit bloody… It involved rounding up every "upstart-monster-hunting" wannabe into a dark room and a set of claws dripping with poison. All Tison needed was an hour, and Hunting Blades could regain their monopoly on the monster eradication business.
…Serves those punks right for muscling in oh his beloved livelihood.
While Tison grinned as a result of his gore filled daydream, something tall and sensuously curvy came a sauntering his way. His grin faded.
Tison wanted to be alone tonight and savor his solitude. It had been hard enough to lose his apprentice, Nan, but now… Tison glared out the corner of his eyes stealthily.
"Mind if I join you?"
He felt the hairs on his neck rise on end. That voice certainly hit below the belt, and it only meant one thing. Trouble.
Tison suspiciously glanced at the display of smooth skin and blue feathery appendages to his right and then sourly yanked his gaze away, as if trying to banish the image from his mind. Brave Vesperia.
"What the hell do you want?" he said gruffly, angry that his respite was disturbed by this monster loving wench.
Judith only smiled lazily, undeterred by Tison's curt attitude. She set down a glass of shimmering red liquid and took the bar stool right beside him. Tison's body grew tense.
"I thought we could prove useful to each other," she said easily.
Tison's hand spasmed around his mug.
She was too damn close. He could practically feel heat radiating from her body. Or maybe it was the beer… either way Tison's body seemed to kick start a chain reaction that was beyond his control.
"What the hell would I want with some monster lover like you," he growled in a husky voice that surprised him. His strange hazel eyes narrowed at the stained wood of the counter top.
"Ba'ul is no monster, he's my friend," she said with such a subtle amount of bite to her voice that Tison thought he dreamed it.
"Hmph." Tison pretended to ignore his curvy companion and topped of his mug from the warming pitcher.
The pair drew the curious glance of the lone bartender. It wasn't every day the veritable poster-girl of Brave Vesperia prowled the local pubs. If it were a busier hour, tongues would have certainly been wagging. Feeling strangely self-conscious, Tison's hands itched to occupy themselves.
Oh, he wished she'd take the hint and just go away. Ignoring Brave Vesperia's Judith was a damn near impossible task. He could practically feel her lean in for the kill when she said.
"I love the way you move."
Tison choked. Spectacularly.
Finally he looked at her full on, eyes tearing profusely as his body struggled for breath. Through his blurry vision he noted the slight uptick located at the corner of her lips. She was laughing at him, damn it!
Tison brought his breathing under control with aching slowness. Finally he leveled his strange hazel eyes at her. "What is it you want?" he snapped.
Her smile grew broader, including the other side of that pretty mouth of hers.
Tison grit his teeth and hissed, with obvious self-restraint, "Enough with your games!"
Judith shrugged, the motion brining the power of her generous chest to light within the confines of her gold trimmed halter-top.
"Its no lie," she said casually. "I would like to employ your services."
His services? What services? Beast extermination? What other service could he provide? Tison felt heat rise up his neck into his face. He banished the indecent stray image in his mind with everything he had.
Beast extermination… It had to be. At this, Tison eyed his companion suspiciously. Between her and that longhaired swordsman, Lowell, Brave Vesperia already had enough firepower in their small arsenal. Not that he'd be caught dead complimenting a guild that had some prepubescent kid as its leader.
"Your form is beautiful. I've never seen a martial art with such agility in combat before," she said matter-of-factly. "I want you to show me."
Tison felt heat rise to his face once again; couldn't blame the booze either. He looked at those crimson eyes for mischief, but found none. She crossed her long legs at the knee as if willing to wait patiently, all night if need be, for a reply.
Judith of Brave Vesperia smiled with feline intent and whispered, "Show me."
The ambiguity, or perceived ambiguity, of her words and actions were likely to fracture Tison's link to sanity. His body suffered through all sorts of unwanted reactions, while his brain was having trouble latching onto the woman's thought process.
'She. Is. Crazy…'
"Show you what?!" Tison asked dubiously, suddenly wishing he could pull up his cowl and hide in its comforting darkness.
She replied without hesitation, "To move like you do."
"… I already have an apprentice," Tison lamely managed after a ten second hesitation."
Tison glanced down to where tailored blue cloth did little to hide a pair of wonderfully smooth thighs. Was it him, or was she getting closer by the minute?
"That's great," she said brightly, "I don't want to be your apprentice. But if you show me the basics, I can make it worth your while."
The Krytian leaned in even more and the hairs at the nape stood on end with a distressing cocktail of fear, suspicion and arousal. Tison's body grew so rigid he thought he'd break.
A bead of nervous sweat raced down Tison's temple. He found himself stupidly mouthing the word, "How?"
"That's what I'd like to know too," stated a masculine voice. It sounded jovial, but Tison was quick to pick up an under current of violence. Whether that violence was directed at him or not, Tison didn't care a bit, he was just silently thankful for the distraction.
Yuri Lowell took a seat opposite the Hunting Blade and casually propped one elbow on the bar top. "I thought you wanted a refill Judy," His dark grey eyes settled on the Krytian's unreadable half smile.
"I got a little sidetracked," she replied nonchalantly sipping her liquor.
"So fill me in. What exactly is worth this guy's while?" Lowell inclined his head to the dumbfounded Hunting Blade, but caught Judith's eyes with a bit of a challenge.
Tison looked at Lowell then back to the Krytian, who despite her socially acceptable distanced, seemed all too close for comfort. This was the last time he'd ever show his face in this pub again, that he swore.
"I was thinking a mutual exchange. I think both of us will find the results satisfactory," she smiled ignoring Yuri's question.
Lowell's casual pose became tense. "Judy," he said in a warning tone.
Tison raked his abnormally long painted nails through his long pale hair. The sword-wielding upstart looked ready to run him through and the crazy Krytian looked like she wanted eat him. He needed to leave with both his sanity and innards intact.
"What are your terms," Tison groused.
"Three times a week, day or night anywhere you want and as long as you can stand it," she smiled as if proud of herself.
"Judy!" Yuri's fist slammed onto the bar top.
'Three times a week! As long as he….' If he weren't careful, Tison was worried that he'dmight get the wrong idea, let alone Brave Vesperia's master swordsman.
"What?" the Krytian focused on her guild-mate with a slight shrug. "I'm simply working out a arrangement. Think of it as a benefit to our guild."
Lowell's scrunched in confusion, "Huh-"
"One thousand," Tison spoke a little to hastily, picking a number out of thin air to end this quickly.
"Hm, it's a little steep," the Krytian said thoughtfully putting a slim finger under her chin. "A session or weekly?"
Tison was now sweating profusely beneath his draped clothing, wondering when she'd back the hell off. From the looks of it, Lowell was just as confused as he was, but that did not stop the dangerous vibe the swordsman seemed to exude in copious amounts.
"Fine," the lithe Hunting Blade snapped back, completely defeated. "One thousand, gella a week."
At that, he couldn't take any more. Moving with inhuman speed, Tison left a lump sum on the bar top and hurriedly vacated the premise.
"Aww, he left so suddenly," Judith said with that same lackadaisical expression, "It looks like I'll have to visit the Hunting Blades Headquarters tomorrow."
Truth be told, Yuri couldn't tell of she was joking or not. Yuri's eyes followed the retreating Hunting Blade's second to the door before settling back on Judith. With a defeated sigh he asked, "What are you up to?"
Judith grinned, "Just a new hobby."