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Through the Grapevine

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Word spreads faster than fire in the bustling city of Monstadt – home to people who loved indulging in wine fueled chatter.

She should have known that – expected it even…

But nothing could have quite prepared her for the lingering gazes from the townspeople nor the hushed whispers as she attempted to walk through the city streets nonchalantly, the black and red bracer she wore like a charm upon her left forearm pulled close to her chest.

Paimon, in all her obliviousness, was a thankful and well needed distraction from the lengthy stares as she prattled away mindlessly about how deliciously warm and sticky the honey roast she’d been treated to by the acting grand master had been on the night Lumine happened to be away – the night where she and the master of the Dawn Winery had-

The blonde feels a burning sensation creep up her cheeks as she recalled the evening she’d given herself to Diluc – the first and only time she’d ever been bedded by a man… one who belonged to a foreign world no less.

It was the reason the entirety of Mondstadt’s been thrown into a tizzy. Suddenly Lumine found herself becoming the talk of the town not for her grand deeds of heroism as an honorary Knight of Favonius, but for being the first potential fling of the owner of the Dawn Winery that he’s had in years. She never did like being the center of attention… but if she had to picked, she’d say she misses being recognized as the first over the latter instead.

Despite her own curiosity as to how rumors of their one night of intimacy had gotten out so quickly – she knew internally well that the source of the gossip mattered little compared to how she chooses to respond to the rumors now, something Diluc must undoubtedly be dealing with himself wherever he is.

And she’d opted to act oblivious to the matter – even if it pricked at her self-consciousness and nagged at her own concerns over just how Diluc felt about the matter. In fact, fear of his reaction is perhaps half of the reason she’d chosen the path of pretense. She knew not if he was bothered about the rumors, or if word of them being associated with one another tarnishing his reputation would perhaps trouble him.

He was ever a lone wolf – a flickering flame in the midst of an all-encompassing dark. It was his very light that had led her to him; the fiery passion and determination that burned hotter in his soul than even the flames that would burst from his blade. In her loneliness, he was her warmth, her shelter, her savior. But important than anything else, he was the uncrowned king of this city, the guardian of Mondstadt – one who relied on much of his wealth and reputation to gather intelligence whenever and wherever he needed.

If an outlander like her were to waltz in and tear down all that he’s worked for… she didn’t know if she’d be able to find the heart to forgive herself.

She’d worn an expression of disinterest to the best of her abilities as a result – walked through the city gates and past the adventurer’s guild with a faked confident sway that has her nearly shaking in the pits of her thigh boots.

“M-Miss Lumine! Please wait!”

She hears a familiar voice call out to one, one that has her grimacing briefly before she spins on her heels to look back at the approaching woman.

“O-Oh… Miss Donna.”

The brunette woman in front of her has her hands clasped together, face twisted into an expression that Lumine could only describe as a mixture of disbelief and sadness.

“I-Is it true?? The rumors…”

“….I’m…not sure what you-“

“T-the rumors! About you and Master Diluc! I-Is…. Is it true???”

The words Lumine had wanted to utter in denial of the other woman’s questions get caught in a lump within her throat, and she feels color drain from her complexion as she watches Donna stare down at her with wide quivering eyes.

She knows better than anyone that she owes nobody an explanation – it was something Diluc himself had even told her before, on top of his oddly practical advice of only ‘doing what you believe to be right for yourself’.

Why then did she feel guilt churning in her stomach like a cesspool? Why did the look in Donna’s eyes hurt her so much that the young woman, once a goddess who was known for her own fortitude and strength, would be unable to bring herself to speak the truth?

“I…”

Her mouth is dry, golden eyes flickering down the cobblestone ground beneath her feet and Paimon turns to look at her friend with a confused expression.

“Rumors? About you and Master Diluc? What does that mean??”

Her fingers curl into her palm, knuckles clenched so tightly blood was beginning to drain from her hands as she grits her teeth beneath sealed lips that were pressed together into a thin, pale line.

She wants to disappear. She wants to melt into a puddle. She wants to be anywhere other than here – in front of the questioning, curious eyes of the public and a heartbroken woman that she knew to be infatuated with the man that she had just slept w-

“Oh! There you are Lumine, Paimon!”

The tension in the atmosphere snaps like a twine pulled taut at the kindly voice of a friend as she runs over, hands set on her hips as she smiles widely – almost as if oblivious to the air of disconcertment looming among the women. Amber’s presence pulls Paimon’s short attention span away almost immediately, and Donna takes a step back as she holds her hands in front of her with an almost sheepish embarrassment at her own eagerness.

“Oh! Hi, Amber! What’s up!” Paimon greets with a light twirl, and the girl dressed in red lets out a grin in return.

“I was just looking for the both of you! It’s been a while since we had a chat… well, because of… you know… what happened.”

Lumine’s eyes briefly dart down to her bracer, her right hand raising up to gently rub at the fabric to feel the rolls of bandages beneath.

“So I thought about catching up for a bit! I’ll treat you both to more honey sticky roast!”

“You mean it?!” Paimon’s eyes practically light up, as usual when food is mentioned, and she lets out a loud cheer. “Of course we accept! Let’s go let’s go!”

Perhaps now sensing that her presence was unwelcome or unappreciated, Donna glances towards Lumine with an almost saddened, apologetic smile which the blonde returns, before scuttering away quickly.

For a brief moment, Lumine wonders if Amber’s fortunate timing was something of a mere coincidence… but watching the outrider’s bright, enthusiastic grin fade for a moment proves her thoughts otherwise. She cannot help but to feel her heart slowly begin to sink into the bottom of her stomach.

“Don’t worry. I’ll find somewhere quiet for us to talk.”

---

It didn’t take very many orders of sticky honey roast at the Good Hunter to convince Paimon to give the pair some time to speak alone at all – only three whole servings or so that Amber, against Lumine’s insistence, had paid for with her own pocket full of mora.

The young girl’s thusly been left to busy herself with stuffing her face full of the sweet meat dish by the table as Amber pulled her fellow knight aside to an isolated, quiet corner of the block, with neither of the ladies having had even a single mouthful of food – not that Lumine would have had the appetite to eat given the conversation topic she suspects Amber was about to bring up anyway.

And her suspicions are of course, proven right, with Amber’s arms raising up to fold over her chest as she speaks to the blonde with a hushed tone of voice.

“Lumine… The whole of Mondstadt is talking about this.”

“I know.” There’s an irritability in Lumine’s voice as she acknowledges her with a slight scowl, though it wasn’t directed exclusively at the outrider. Amber didn’t at all deserve to be a target of her frustrations, but she certainly didn’t need the extra reminder of what has already been made inherently clear to her the moment she step foot in the city.

“I mean… It’s not right and… I know how much this must all be bothering you but… It’s not unnatural given who is involved.”

The man who held the entirety of Monstadt’s wine industry in the palm of his hands and the mysterious traveler who rose the ranks of the Knight of Favonius in practically an instant… No surprise why rumors are being spread rampantly indeed.

“This rumor of you and Diluc… Why it’s probably even more talked about now than even the Darknight hero!”

Suppressing the urge to react at the mention of Diluc’s totally secret alter-ego with either a short laugh or a flinch, Lumine merely frowns as she narrows her golden eyes at Amber.

“Are you going to ask then? If the rumors are true or not. That’s the only reason why you pulled me aside, isn’t it?”

Lips hang agape, but no words leave Amber’s lips as her brows sink downwards in shame… and Lumine internally slaps herself for the callous way in which she’d called her friend out. Amber wasn’t one to participate in idle gossip, especially in regards to her friends. She should know this – know that the outrider must have simply been worried. Even if Lumine’s been left on edge for the entirety of the day no thanks to others with less than humble, caring intentions… it wasn’t a good reason to take it out on a friend who had simply wanted to show her concern.

“I’m… I’m sorry.”

“No!! Y-you’re right… I’m.. I’m probably no different from the rest of them for asking but…” the archer’s hands rise up to clasp the front of her chest as she looks at Lumine with a sincerity she cannot deny. “You don’t have to tell me if you aren’t comfortable. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

If there was anyone Lumine feels like she could potentially trust with telling the truth, it’d certainly be somebody like Amber – the very first friend besides Paimon she’d made since she’d been left stranded in Teyvat. In a way, Amber had done just as much as Paimon and Diluc had in saving her – guiding her to Mondstadt, introducing her to the other Knights of Favonius and allowing her a path to continue her journey to save her brother. And while Amber was outspoken and energetic just as Paimon is, there’s a maturity to her that her smaller, floatier friend lacked that would make bringing up the topic exceedingly difficult, if not completely impossible to explain.

She’d once said something to Amber – something along the lines of admittance that she’s begun to see the Knights of Favonius as family before she’d left Mondstadt to head to Liyue with Paimon and Diluc, though the latter had only accompanied her with the justification that he was returning the favor she’d given him.

Much happened in Liyue, and even more back in Mondstadt when she’d returned to pay her friends a visit… including of course, her own carelessness which led to her becoming a thrall of the abyss order.

But regardless of all that has happened, Amber has always stayed a true and loyal friend, one who never failed to show her unrelenting support… even when she’d come close to being sliced open by her own friend’s golden blade.

Amber had nearly been mortally wounded… whether it be for her sake or by her own hands. And here she was, wondering if that very same girl would stoop so low as to spread rumors at her expense. The ridiculousness of it all…

“I trust you.” Lumine answers, and perhaps upon sensing Amber’s mounting concern at her own frowning, the blonde looks up with a gentle smile. “I know you won’t tell anyone else.”

“Of course I won’t, silly!” The relief in the outrider’s voice is apparent as her shoulders slump. “You’re my friend. And also one of the few knights I consider like a sister.”

Amber’s flames of passions are quite unlike Diluc’s, an energetic, passionate and cheery soul in contrast to his intense, vicious determination… but it was all the same, a source of light and warmth that made her feel at home – made her feel belonged in a world that otherwise saw her as nothing but an alien lifeform. In the absence of her only kin, she’s found new family and friends – and it was only thanks to Amber that she could have come as far as she has on her journey.

Shedding her self-consciousness and hint of pride, Lumine glances down with a softened gaze in her eyes upon the bracer she wore, tracing the pattern of flames that climbed up, twisting and turning before melding themselves into the shape of Noctua.

“It’s… It’s true… Everything, at least of what I’ve heard… about me and Diluc… it’s all true.”

Several seconds of silence is followed by an utterance of disbelief from Amber, but the archer is quick to swallow her shock in favor of leaning forward to show her friend much needed concern.

“W-was it… just meant to be a one time… uh… fling? He- He didn’t pressure you into it, did he??”

The outlander’s eyelids shoot up, eyes bulging as her head shakes frantically from side to side.

“No, no! That’s not- He- Diluc is- I mean… He isn’t the type… who would do that…”

“I guess that’s true.” Amber relents, crossing her arms over her chest with furrowed brows. If it had perhaps been somebody like Kaeya, she wouldn’t hesitate to jump to the conclusion that he’d just been toying with an innocent maiden just to bed her for one night… and she’d probably be marching her way to his quarters now to shoot a flaming arrow straight between his legs. But as much as she never took the normally no-nonsense ex-Knight of Favonius to be the type for one-night stands, he wasn’t exactly someone she knew with enough familiarity to dismiss that suspicion either.

“Still, it’s sometimes hard to tell just what Master Diluc is thinking… Are you sure he isn’t… you know, playing with your feelings?”

“It’s not anything of the sort…” Golden eyes sparkle with a radiant infatuation that has Amber’s own eyes widening in surprise, as Lumine lovingly trails her fingers across the black and red bracer she wore that stood out like a sore thumb against the rest of her bright white clothing. “Diluc has done a lot for me… His feelings, as well as my own, are genuine… I want to believe that.”

“Well if you’re sure.” Amber tries and fails to suppress a heaving sigh of relief, before she finally smiles at Lumine. “When you talk about him with that kind of expression, I can’t help but believe that what you’re saying is true.”

“Is- Is it that obvious?”

“Well, only to me.” The brunette giggles, unfolding her arms to plant her hands upon her hips. “In any case, you don’t have to worry! Your secret’s safe with me! And I’ll help you out by telling off anyone who dares to gossip about you behind your back too!”

For the first time in that day, Lumine lets out a genuinely hearty giggle that echoes in tandem with Amber’s.

“Even still… I’m shocked. I didn’t ever think Master Diluc would be the type who would be interested in se-“

“A-Amber!”

“O-Oops- Sorry!”

---

Diluc’s usual method of dealing with gossip and rumors, especially in regards to himself, are simple.

The first step was to ignore the chatter. If the gossip was in no way useful or new information to him, he simply pays no mind to it. He didn’t have the time or patience to deal with trivial matters that didn’t help with his goals, after all.

The second step was to glare… or otherwise simply let his silence and disapproving frown do the talking… and it is often effective enough in quietening most gossip that he cares enough about to want to silence – which is rare.

He’s gone a long time bearing chit-chat and talks of the ‘darknight hero’, the name of his alter ego in which he still thinks to be utterly stupid.

But this is different – he notes to himself as he feels blood rushing to his head at yet another barely audible hushed whisper from one of the tavern patrons sitting several tables away from the bar he stood behind. The fool thinks he can’t hear him just because of the distance.

And while Diluc cannot hear the exact wording of that man’s gossip with his friend, he knows exactly what it was that he, and the rest of the city is talking about.

It’s strangely vexing, enough that it’s caused Diluc’s mind to wander a fair bit as he stands stiffly behind the bar serving drinks to customers as he usually does, with his jaw clenched and already usually stoic demeanor made a more intimidating presence accompanied by his additional silence.

It’s clear as day that no gossip of worth is going to be spread through Angel’s Share for the night… and yet he feels morally compelled to take the shift that evening – if only to lessen the spread of the rumor just a tad.

It wasn’t that he personally cared what others thought of him – he never has and never will. It’s been years since he’d paid any mind to his public reputation – since he’d learn the hard way through his father’s demise that respect and enamor from others was just about as feeble as life itself. He didn’t have need for any of it if it meant sacrificing his integrity… this is no different.

But he was bothered now – only because it involved her.

Rumors of their relationship range from something resembling close to the truth to blatant exaggerated lies, often painting Lumine in the light of nothing but a mere one time fling that Diluc had no more interest in than some concubine… or worse still, a woman who’d seduced him because she was after his wealth and status.

And while it was true that he had no regard for whether people knew of their closely intertwined relationships – much less what sort of vile and nasty assumptions the people may have about him… he did care for Lumine’s feelings.

Did he foresee the eventuality of their relationship becoming public knowledge? Yes. But had he counted on just how wild and ridiculous people’s imaginations may be? Perhaps not as much as he should have.

It is all he could do then but to simply shoot a glare towards anyone he sensed to be going too far in their gossip, even if it meant chasing them out with sheer intimidation alone.

“A dandelion wine, please.”

Sheer intimidation unfortunately can only go so far… especially when it is as ineffective as it is against a man who could not be normally reasoned with such as Kaeya.

The redheaded man scowls deeply, arms remaining cross over his chest as his scarlet eyes glare daggers straight into Kaeya’s own icy blue ones… But knowing the accursed Knight’s type, he finally relents and turns to reach for the bottle of dandelion wine upon the shelf.

“So, I don’t suppose you’ve heard the rumors?” With a carefree tone, Kaeya asks with smirk and Diluc resists the urge to roll his eyes as he tips the wine almost carelessly into a glass. Of course he’s here to talk about that. “Something about you and our precious honorary knight?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” The pyro vision user doesn’t expect such a blatant lie to work on Kaeya, but it’s enough for him to spite the man as he slides the glass of wine unceremoniously across the bar counter towards him, which Kaeya catches skillfully between extended slender fingers.

“Oh? You didn’t? I struggle to believe the owner of this tavern would fail to be in the know about Mondstadt’s biggest headline today.” Kaeya lifts his wine glass deftly to swirl the beverage, before taking a quick sip of the wine. “I heard on the grapevine of strange noises coming from your bedroom at the Dawn Winery last night.”

“Strange noises? Must have been my eagle.” Diluc’s expression gives nothing away even as his eye cuts to the side, catching the widening of Kaeya’s amused grin from the corner of his vision.

“Wow, I didn’t know your eagle was capable of saying your name.”

“She’s well trained.”

That in itself, wasn’t a lie, something Kaeya catches immediately with a glint of humor in his one unexposed eye as he tilts his head to the side. The cup of wine sways, slow, rhythmic and teasing… all in the name of testing Diluc’s patience. The redhead would perhaps love nothing more than for Kaeya to finish his drink and to leave the tavern… But the night is still young, and Kaeya hasn’t had his fill of entertainment yet.

“I see. So the rumors aren’t true then. What a relief!”

Diluc subdues the urge to raise an eyebrow, or to even turn his gaze towards Kaeya… but he does begrudgingly continue to listen to the cryo vision knight, as the man knows the other would be doing.

“And here I thought I may have to fight the richest man in Mondstadt for precious Lumine’s affections. Full glad am I to see that my suspicion’s unfounded. If I had to compete with my own brother for her-”

“Are you done here? We’ll closing soon.”

With a cool shrug of his shoulders, Kaeya tilts his wine glass and downs the rest of his alcoholic drink into his mouth, letting out a hum of delight before rising from his seat and dumping a handful of mora on the counter.

“Always so eager to chase me out. Alright, alright.”

As usual, the man in blue allows himself to linger, watching his adopted brother to finally shift his glare towards him with a jovial smile that Diluc sincerely wished that he could wipe off. And just before Kaeya fully steps out of the tavern, he turns his head to the side and raises his hand with a playful wave.

“Don’t let the rumors get to you, Diluc. After all, you have nothing to hide.”

It’s vexing. The entire situation is, even without Kaeya to sour Diluc’s mood even more than it already has. If Diluc had no regards for what others thought of him, Kaeya was certainly at the bottom of the barrel of that pile of people he couldn’t care less about making a good impression towards.

But he didn’t understand what exactly the point of Kaeya’s words was – of his completely unsubtle suggestion that he was after Lumine, truthful or not – and of his parting words that only solidified Diluc’s belief that Kaeya had not at all bought into his frankly lame excuse behind the rumors. And the former in particular, is worth enough concern that it elicits a hefty sigh from Diluc’s lips as he turns around to begin tidying up the shelves of the bar and glasses.

Fight for Lumine’s affections? Just repeating Kaeya’s words in his head is enough to make his vein pop. It didn’t matter if he was certain Lumine had zero interest in Kaeya… not when he has zero trust for the man that he used to call his brother. One could only ever trust half of what Kaeya says at best, and if he were genuine in stating his intentions to woo Lumine then there isn’t a thing in the world the cavalry captain wouldn’t do to scheme his way into attaining his goals.

The redheaded man hears the tavern door open behind him, and he calls back with knitted brows to who he believed must have been Kaeya returning.

“I thought I told you that we’re closing.”

“Oh… Am I not welcome here then?”

Scarlet eyes widen and Diluc spins around, mouth dropping open slightly when he catches sight of the blonde traveler standing by the door of the tavern, hands clasped together behind her back hesitantly. Trust him to be sloppy when Lumine is involved.

“….No, you are. Always.”

He hates the way his voice audibly softens towards her, hates the way the fire in his eyes extinguishes in her presence… But there is naught else he can do but to allow the remaining lingering patrons of the tavern a glimpse of his gentler gaze as Lumine steps forward closer to the bar. He notes with a steady, unbroken stare at her that Paimon wasn’t present, presumably left behind with Amber again so she wouldn’t interrupt whatever serious conversation Lumine has undoubtedly come for.

There’s a waver in her eyes. Diluc watched as her normally earnestly steady gaze begins darting around, unfocused and dare he says sheepish, as if she were uncertain on whether to speak. He hears murmurs from the side, and promptly shoots a glare up at the guests huddled by the table that silences them, before directing his attention back to the blonde outlander.

It’s almost been a whole day since they’d last seen each other – since they’d woken up early in the crack of dawn naked and tangled in each other’s arms on his bed… and while he found her slight embarrassment to be endearing, it wasn’t exactly a side of her he thought she’d have liked to publicly project to people outside the pair of them.

“Did you need something?”

Diluc asks, prompting her to speak at her extended silence that he assumed to be a result of her shyness.

“Um well… I came here to talk to you about something.”

He raises an eyebrow inquisitively, briefly glancing to his side at the few remaining customers of the tavern who surely enough had their eyes fixed curiously on the pair.

Was she here to talk about the rumors? Or at the very least, something to do with it? He never took Lumine to be a careless woman, and so the idea of her coming to discuss this private matter between them in the presence of others was puzzling enough for him to tilt his head.

“Did you need me to empty the place or-“

“No- That’s not necessary.” She answers swiftly, expression steady and certain – as is her gaze as their eyes finally meet… and Diluc is reassured of her confidence into silence.

He’s patient as he waits for her to ponder over her words quietly, careful as she always is… until she finally inhales deeply.

“I just came by to say that… I’ll be leaving for Inazuma soon.”

Her revelation sends Diluc’s eyelids flying up, and the chatter of the tavern patrons continues once more – and this time, he didn’t bother to silence them.

“It’s been… an eventful trip back to Mondstadt but… I have to look for my brother. I heard from Paimon that the nation closest to Liyue is Inazuma.”

It’s often easy for him to forget that Lumine wasn’t from this world – for as important as she has become to him and the people of Mondstadt alike.

She’d appeared out of nowhere, like a shooting star that dropped from above – walked into their lives and saved this city in a way he himself hadn’t been able to do across the span of many long years. An honorary knight and adventurer both… and as much as he hated to agree with Kaeya, she was also the first person he’d ever trusted enough to rely on for help in a long time.

Lumine had only briefly talked about her origins – and he never felt it appropriate to prod her for more information than she was comfortable with sharing… But from what little she’s told him, he can certainly believe that in some far distant and unattainable land, she must be regarded as a goddess to no small number of people – she certainly has the air, beauty and kindness befitting of one.

But that also meant that she was above this land – above Teyvat.

Sooner or later, she’d have to move on… she’d have to find her brother, regain her powers. What then? What would come after the end of that road?

Diluc never really thought about it. He was never a man who pondered over ‘what ifs’ or thought too deeply about the uncertainty of what lay in wait in the future. He simply dealt with obstacles in life as they were in the present.

But he’s found himself wondering now about whether she’d be willing to stay despite that, if not for him, then for the fond memories she’s made and will continue to make as she journeyed through the seven nations of Teyvat.

That’s his selfishness speaking, nagging at the back of his mind that he easily suppresses down. The right thing to do is to support her, to wish her the best. After all, he knows better than anybody else that little in the world is of more importance than your family.

The redhead closes his eyes for a moment, seeming to be lost in his thoughts before he reopens them to look at her.

“When will you be leaving?”

“Tomorrow, perhaps. After I tell the rest of the Knights of Favonius.”

“Could I ask you to postpone your trip for another day?”

Lumine bats her eyelids, blinking quickly in confusion.

“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to but… why?”

The owner of the tavern remains silent for a few long and tense moments, as his scarlet eyes narrow and bear into her own.

The right thing would be to support her – to protect her… to do all that he can to see her to the end of this journey until she finds her own family. It’s only fair and the least he can do, especially after everything that she’s done for him. A trade of favors – just like when he’d escorted her to Liyue.

He concedes… that it was perhaps simply a shallow justification for his own selfish desires.

But were his father still around, Diluc was certain he’d receive his approval.

Nothing is more important than protecting the people you care about.

He’s still weak – too weak to be called a hero. He promised to protect Mondstadt, this place his father called home when he knew the Knights of Favonius would not have the strength to do so… But just as he’d sworn to protect his home, he had also sworn on his father’s honor to protect anyone who would come into his life as she did – as family, as something precious.

And he’d rather be crushed to death than to go back on his word.

“If you give me a day, I can settle all my unattended business and tie up any loose ends before I leave Mondstadt.”

The blonde woman’s eyes widen in bewilderment.

“Leave…? What you’re saying… Did you mean that you plan on coming with me?”

“Yes. If that wasn’t clear enough for you.”

Diluc’s expression and stance is unwavering as he unfolds his arms from the front of his chest, moving past the bar to walk up to the woman who has to careen her head up at him.

“But… What about the Winery? Mondstadt…? Your…. Duty…?”

He knows full well what she’s asking without her having to directly mention it, and the redheaded pyro vision user grunts in acknowledgment.

Whatever will Mondstadt do without the darknight hero? For as much as he hated that ridiculous name, he’s gotten used to small talks about his secret identity by now… and the disappearance of the guardian of the night coinciding with his leaving the city would be sure to raise some eyebrows. More importantly, would he truly be willing to entrust the safety of Mondsadt to the ever consistently incompetent Knights?

A subtle, small smile graces his features, one that Lumine gawks at in surprise.

“It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve left Mondstadt for an extended period of time. It will be fine.”

There are still good people in the city – even despite their many shortcomings. People who he trusts, even in his absence, will still do their part in protecting his home… their home. Lumine has taught him that much at least – that perhaps he can open his heart to trusting others for once.

Lumine is quiet as she stares up at the towering man, stunned and perhaps just a tad dazed by his gentle expression of sincerity.

But she quickly recovers and graces him with a radiant smile as she nods at him with her response, one that has the chattering and gossip throughout Mondstadt turning up in volume.

“Okay… I’ll wait for you then.”