A Study Interlude: A Bard & A Bartender
Angel’s Share was often filled to the brim with Mondstadt’s citizens. Whether they wanted to end the day with a relaxing drink with friends, or to drown their sorrows as they mourned a long-lost friend, it was not the place of the employees to judge their clientele. So long as they didn’t stir up any trouble and paid their bill, Angel’s Share was open to anyone.
The Bard was an exception.
The employees at Angel’s Share never understood why Master Diluc allowed Mondstadt’s favourite carefree bard to drink at the bar for free. Nor could they understand why he usually showed up past closing time, and why Master Diluc sent everyone else home before serving him.
But of course, since it was Master Diluc, no one thought much of it. Perhaps the young man had found a confidante in the bard. Perhaps they were something more.
Venti was particularly tickled by that rumour the first time he heard it from the winds’ whispers.
“Something the matter, bard?”
Venti opened his eyes to the ever-stoic face of Diluc. Only the subtlest raising of an eyebrow confirmed that the redhead did in fact speak up, and that Venti wasn’t imagining things in a drunken stupor.
“Nothing to worry about Master Diluc, just a funny rumour I heard once.”
Diluc huffed. “Considering the rumours I’m accustomed to, I find it’s best to be cautious.” he stopped wiping the glass in his hand to check it, before putting it away with a nod. “We wouldn’t want another impossible assassination to cause unnecessary grief, would we?”
He placed another glass of wine before Venti, his actions slow and deliberate.
“Of course not.” Venti sipped on the sweet liquor gratefully.
The thought of him losing his friend and becoming the last of the original seven caused a sharp pain not unlike when Signora tore his Gnosis from him. It was an unfathomable agony that would’ve brought him to his knees and clutching at his chest, had he not learnt from Lumine that Morax still lived.
Now, he instead felt a different kind of pain. The unmistakable tinge of sorrow that the blockhead hadn’t thought to let him know that he wasn’t about to be left behind, sympathy for his old friend, and disappointment in himself for not noticing Morax’s troubles before.
An interesting concoction, though it certainly wasn’t to his liking.
Diluc observed the bard with furrowed eyebrows, trying to discern what emotions he was going through. Pain was not new to him of course. After his father’s death, and the trials he faced before returning to the city of Winds, it was practically an old friend. However, what was his pain when compared to that of an Archon who had lived for millennia?
He once wondered if the Archons even experienced pain the same way humans did, or if their existence differed so much that to empathise with them was a foolish notion. Regardless, it was difficult to look at the bard before him and not feel some sort of pity.
The look on Venti’s face was unbefitting of him. If the bard wouldn’t do anything to lift his own spirits, and Lumine wasn’t here to do it for him, then who else was there? Besides, Diluc could only waive his bill so many more times.
A heavy sigh escaped the redhead’s lips.
“Why not pay your friend a visit?”
Venti looked up from his drink, a small smile painted on his lips.
“Our friendship is... complicated. I can’t be sure that he wouldn’t blow me back to Mondstadt the moment we lay eyes on each other.”
Diluc rolled his eyes. In other words, they were in a similar situation to him and K- no. He wasn’t going there.
“From what I know of him,” he knew very little from folktales and Venti’s drunken rants, “so long as you don’t make a fool of yourself, you’ll be fine. Besides, it’d probably do you some good.”
“Perhaps if you went with some company, he’d be less likely to chase you out. Call it a vacation of sorts.”
“Oh? Are you offering, Master Diluc?”
Diluc scoffed. “I have business here to tend to. I was thinking more along the lines of Lumine and her companion.”
Venti hummed. “You know what, you’re right I’ll pay that old blockhead a visit and give him a piece of my mind.” a playful grin sprung onto his face. “I’ll need some of your finest dandelion wine for the trip.”
The next day, citizens of Mondstadt would tell their friends that they witnessed the infamous bard giggling as Master Diluc threw him out of Angel’s Share with twitching eyebrows in the wee hours of the night, and yet another rumour would be born.
A/N: I have two more projects to rush out in two weeks. After that, a month or so break before my third year and internship. After that, I have to deal with two years of National Service! Woe is me, I shouldn’t have started writing in this period of my life.
Jokes aside, that’s why updates will be slow for a bit.