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Thunderbird's Mercy

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I.Fischl’s Troubles

“Just where has he been!?” Fischl blurts out loud, hands balled up as she marches up the stairs to her next assignment.

 

“Well mein Fräulein, as Bennett has explained, he seems to be preoccupied with--” Oz suggests before he is stopped by an exasperated groan, his black feathers ruffling at her outburst.

 

“Gah!” the blond shakes her head, not wanting to hear another logical--yet unsought for--explanation about the object of her interest’s recent disappearances.

 

So, what is it that got Fischl like this you ask? Well, it had to do with the ill-starred young man of course. 

 

As part of the Adventurers’ Guild, she had heard rumors of this certain boy for a little while--mainly how their luck--or lack of--would seemingly spread like a wildfire among the rest of the members during their quests together. Given that she was in an entirely different department, she didn’t look too into it--paths between the adventurers and the intelligence team rarely intertwined with each other, the organization team was sufficient enough to pass information between the two.

 

However, during one of her cases, she had caught sight of a boy hanging off almost comically from a tree, his hood caught onto a tree branch, yet a shining smile persisted on his face despite the situation. After helping him down, he introduces himself as Bennett, the leader of Benny's Adventure Team. When she asked where the rest of his team members were, he gave her a sheepish smile, saying they’re currently all on leave--to which Fischl quickly deduced was the ill-starred boy from the rumors before. He’d also extended an invitation to Fischl to join his group, but she had turned it down, stating that she was busy enough as an investigator for the Guild.

 

And after that incident, as if her rejection to his team had sizzled all the stars that aligned their paths together, they didn’t see each other again for a while. Until a couple weeks later, out in the fields of another investigative case, the boy had dropped right in front of her--literally dropped! There weren’t even any trees, cliffs, or anemo currents nearby that could explain his descent before her, yet he simply greeted her with her title of ‘Prinzessin der Verurteilung’ before answering with a ‘It just happens, I’m used to it’ and a thumbs up.

 

Taking it upon herself and accepting whatever fate was out there that would actually just send someone flying across the sky--perhaps it wasn’t that unusual, Mondstadt is the home of the Anemo Archon after all. Fischl decided to help him out, joining his proclaimed ‘Benny’s Adventure Team’ to keep a steady eye on him. 



In their first adventure, after hiking a couple miles, heavy storm clouds arrive as if chasing them, resulting in them seeking shelter at a cave. 

 

Although their first few adventures ended up in chaos, with more time dressing the boy’s wounds than actually exploring and finding treasure, Fischl can’t help but admit that it had been a lot of fun. The talkative boy was also a great listener, surprising Fischl when he even asked more about the world that she--her character--resided in, asking about territories that she herself had never had the time to explore deeper within her mind--nonetheless be asked about it. It was then when Fischl realized that not all treasure needed to be found at the end of the day; sometimes the adventure itself was.

 

Afterwards, the times they spent together wasn’t much of an adventure as it was just friends hanging out together--which was somewhat foreign--but gradually welcoming--to Fischl. Whether it was off delivering food, beating up some local slimes, or helping Timmie feed his birds, whatever Bennett asked of her, she would try her best to clear up her schedule and make time for him.

 

And so, days turned weeks, weeks turned into months where they continued this routine.

 

Now back to the present. This past week--after their four months of friendship, and accepting the most tedious tasks to do along with him--why is it that Bennett is no longer asking Fischl to join along on his adventures?

 

It wasn’t like him to hide things and when she had confronted him about it, he replied that he ‘had something to do’, which infuriated Fischl because she can’t call him out on it--anyone and everyone has something to do obviously. But she is an investigator, for Barbatos’ sake! She can tell when something is slightly off, and she’s also basically his best friend too! Yet, this uncertainty has fueled Fischl with a sense of guilt as well--she wanted to respect his boundaries, yet couldn’t help but want to probe further.

 

She’s been thinking that ever since meeting Bennett, it has somehow given her some new heightened senses, she might say. That the slight waver in his voice, a slight contort of his brows, or the ever occasional pressed line of his lips would send Fischl into a frenzy of worry and concern. Not to forget the other emotions she would also feel like when he smiled graciously at her when she finished dressing up one of his wounds or the soft gaze he would give her as they said their good nights for the day. And when she asked Oz about all this, all he said was that she--   

 

“--simply have a crush.” Oz’s voice comes in, snapping Fischl out of her thoughts.

 

“O-Oz! I--” she yelps, turning to face the raven and brings a hand to her chest, feeling the rapid beating under her palm. She makes another noise of displeasure, unable to conjure up a response to even try to deny the claim. “We hast an investigation to make judgement upon.” she states, shifting back to her usual speech patterns.

 

She steps towards the stone railing, leaning on it as she tries to distract herself with the view of the rooftops and the movement of civilians. She takes a deep breath of air, relishing in the morning Mondstadt breeze as it cools down her warm cheeks before stepping into the Knights of Favonious Headquarters.

 


II. Lisa’s Lost Book

“Fischl, Oz, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?” The brunette librarian greets them with a smile with a book in her hand and a cart full of books beside her.

 

“Lisa, yes, to what do I owe thy pleasure,” she says, the woody nostalgic smell of the books gives her a sense of familiarity. “Your request details of a thief upon thy librarium.”

 

“Yes, dear.” Lisa answers and waves towards a wooden table with four chairs and a tea set. “Sit down, I’ll tell you.”

 

Fischl sits down and Oz perches on the back of her chair. She materializes her journal and an electro quill and places it on the table as Lisa pours tea for them.

 

“Thanks,” Fischl says as she accepts the tea cup, blowing along the surface and taking in the tea’s earthy scent before taking a sip.

 

“You’re very welcome, dear.” Lisa sits down, “So the book thief.” She glances at Fischl, “I’m sure you are familiar with how the books are lent out.” 

 

Fischl nods, remembering the numerous times she had recorded her borrowed fantasy novels in Lisa’s registration book. She looks towards Lisa’s work desk at the side and is surprised when the large book she expected to see is not there.

 

Lisa takes note of this and sighs deeply, heading behind the desk revealing the registration book and returns back to the table. She flips over to a page and presents it to Fischl.

 

Fischl blinks, seeing that the whole page is all covered with ink. “Such plebeian behavior for whatever reason! Do inform me.”

 

Lisa sits back down, “I had been out for a little bit, and when I returned the page was splattered all in ink.”

 

“By my eyes, it was not done with purpose.” Fischl realizes, noting how the ink seemed more like a spill judging by the way the black color spreaded on the page. She writes it down in her notebook, electro energy flowing from her quill to jot down on the page.

 

Lisa hums knowingly, “As do I, so I looked through the bookshelves and recalled one book I am certain had not been taken before this disaster.” Lisa says, punctuating the last word with a slight tap on the inked page. “And this is where you come in.”

 

Fischl looks up from her notebook.

 

“‘The Boar Princess’,” Not many people have read it, but I recall you have.” Lisa answers, lips curling into a smile.

 

“The memory of the tome persists, yes.” Fischl says as Oz adds on quietly, his tone laced with amusement, “All this trouble for a book like ‘The Boar Princess’?.”

 

She dismisses Oz's remark with a slight curl in the corner of her lips and sketches what she remembers of the book’s front cover--a pig with a crown made of roses.

 

“And that is particularly why I requested your services,” Lisa continues, noticing the drawing as well. “I knew you would remember the book and therefore be able to find it for me as well. Or perhaps, you know of someone who would have taken it?”

 

Fischl angles back in the chair, thinking. Personally, she didn’t really know of many people who were interested in books like her besides her besides Lisa and Mona, “By the dark stars, I do not.” Fischl answers truthfully.

 

It had also been a while since she herself has had time to read...due to a certain someone. She let out a short sigh.

 

“Now, why dear, do I hear the sigh of someone madly in love?~” Fischl jumps at the playful voice.

 

“L-Love?! No, I was just thinking--” she cuts off when her hand slams unexpectedly hard on the table.

 

“Yes, Lisa, mein Fräulein has been having some boy problems lately.” Oz interjects, flying off to one of the bookcases when Fischl turns arounds in surprise.

 

“O-Oz!” Fischl stutters, sinking back into her chair when Lisa’s lips curl into a devious smile.

 

“Boy problem? Why, you’ve come to the right place! Love potions, memory alteration, or--ooh my favorite--mind control,” Lisa rambles on, counting each of the ideas before lowering her voice, a dangerous glint in her eyes. “or perhaps you would prefer something more hands-on?”

 

She shakes her head profusely, “N-No! I would not force him like that!”

 

Lisa’s face softens--although Fischl knew it was a deceiving one judging from the slight smirk she still withheld. “Oh! My dear! How pure-minded, now that is true love.” she says dramatically, placing a hand over her chest.

 

With great mental control and a quick prayer to Barbatos, Fischl releases her hold on the wooden table and brings her hands to the journal, flattening it to desperately draw attention to it, “Lisa, if all the details have been shared, this chatter has entertained far enough.” Fischl says flatly, inwardly high-fiving herself for managing to not stutter one bit despite her rapidly beating heart. 

 

Lisa laughs quietly at her change of attitude, “I’m sorry, dear, I only jest!” She smiles, “No more love talk!...Now what were we talking about…?” Lisa prompts, raising a hand under her chin, thinking.

 

“...The tome of Boar Princess…and the earthy vessel thief that has hold of it.” Fischl answers, lips pressed in a line.

 

“If I recall, you typically put an elemental mark on it, do you not?” Oz adds on, flying back to perch on the back of Fischl’s chair.

 

“Ah yes, that is a great reminder. I’m sure you remember that I typically place an elemental mark when lending out the book. Unfortunately I usually place them right when they are lent out, so they stay longer. However, in this case, the trace is very weak.” Lisa explains, “The last mark was near the Adventurers’ Guild Headquarters. I believe that is all the information I can offer.”

 

“The retinue? Then, the vessel in possession of the tome seeks adventure too.” Nodding to herself, Fischl glances down at her journal, “With haste, I will gather details.” she says, bringing her tea cup to her mouth and finishing the rest.“Fare thee well.”  

 

“That is great dear, I definitely appreciate the help.” Lisa clasps her hands together as Fischl gets up from her seat.

 

Approaching the wooden door, she’s just about to leave when Lisa’s voice rings out.

 

“Oh! And good luck with darling Benny too, dear!”

 

Fischl’s looks away as heat rises to her cheeks again, her shoulders furrowed in as she quickly escapes from another round of Lisa’s teasing.

 


III. Investigation

“Mein Fräulein, since you have read the book, ‘The Boar Princess’, might I ask what it was about?” Oz asks, flying besides her as they walk to the Adventurers’ Guild Headquarters.

 

Somehow the recollection comes to her mind quickly, simultaneously the confusion she had when she had first read it.  “It was a tome of comic intent on a boar princess’ adventures with critters as kinsmen. Till she meets of a pup and to provide--serves one of her kinsmen, the orange fox bestiary, into a meal.” Fischl answers promptly.

 

“A boar serving a fox as a meal…?” Oz stops and perches on a stone rail, slightly puzzled, “That certainly is quite a tale. Seems like the book is not that important, I wonder why Lisa would want us to chase for it.” 

 

She waits for a moment before walking again, Oz flying to catch up with her, “Small as it may be, Lisa requires dictation of her tomes--nonetheless the possession of a thief” She answers, recalling instances of people who had suffered the wrath of the librarian when they had not return their books, the memory of Cavalry Captain Kaeya comes to her mind, “For if herself Lisa pursued….” she shivers. 

 

“Ah, I see. Mein Fräulein.” Oz nods and then gazes forwards, “What great timing, we have arrived.”

 

Looking ahead, they are steps away from the large building, Guildmaster Cyrus standing at the front, just in time to notice them as he brings up a hand to wave at them. 

 

“Fischl, Oz. How can I help you two?” Cyrus greets.

 

“Cyrus, greetings.” Fischl says while materializing her journal and flips to the page with her sketched book cover and presents it to him, “Perchance you have recollection of this tome of boars?” 

 

“Uhh..” He blinks at her expression of words before looking at the sketch, “Oh have I seen this book? I have actually! A couple days ago.”

 

“Do go on, for thy details.” Fischl takes the journal back, pleased at her finding.

 

“I’ve seen it on a desk in the dinner hall, under the large windows.” Cyrus continues before frowning, “I haven’t seen it since then though.”

 

Fischl notes down the details in her journal and looks back up, “Perchance you have recollection of the earthy vessel with it?”

 

He thinks for a moment, before shaking his head, “There’s too many people going through the dinner hall, and it never occurred to me that the book would have been stolen.” Cyrus explains, he raises his hand, jutting a thumb out towards the Guild’s door,  “Feel free to check down there though, perhaps you’ll find something.”

 

Giving a nod and thanking Cyrus, Fischl enters into the building with Oz following behind.

 


 

As an investigator in the Adventurer’s Guild, she’s familiar with this building, although honestly speaking she rarely went to the dining hall nowadays. The investigation department was usually on the higher levels of the building with their own small dining area there. The only times she would go to the adventurers’ side of the building would be...if she were to be with Bennett. Whether it was her reminding him to be careful eating as he scarfed down his breakfast, too excited to head out for whatever adventure they had planned for the day. Or him gently pushing her on a seat, their shoulders brushing as they sat together with his dads at the dinner hall, listening and sharing each other’s stories for that day. Seeing Oz waiting by the doorway into the dining hall, she exhales a deep sigh before casting her thoughts away to focus on her current task. 

 

“Such a mess here.” Oz notes, flying over rumpled sheets of paper that Fischl can assume are details of the commissions that the adventurers are assigned. And as she expected, the dining hall is empty; adventurers already embarked on their quests for the day.

 

“I recall it is often like this.” Fischl says, noticing the trays of food that are left on the wooden tables half-eaten. “Alas.” Fischl points to the large window fitting Cyrus’ description.

 

Under the window, she’s surprised to find a fancy quill with dried ink on its tip and several empty jars of ink on the table which had a couple black stains. It reminds her of Lisa’s splattered record book, perhaps there was a connection? She thought to herself. She holds the quill in her fingers, inspecting it. It was rare for adventurers to use such high quality utensils--considering the amount of paperwork that covered the grounds, adventurers were not big fans of calligraphy. Looking around the table, Fischl catches sight of a small pile of paper under the table. She ducks down to grab one, surprised at messy scrawls and loops of text before examining it.

 

[A/N: Don’t try reading this lol] I send hem to you, myn nown swete, agayn, ffor to kepe by you: and over that I send you the blissynge þat our Lord gaveffe hir dere sonne, and ever well to ffare. I pray you grete well my horsse, and praye hym to gyffe yow iiij off his yeres to helpe you with all: and I will at my comynge home gyff hym iiij off my yeres and iiij horsse lofes till amendes. I sent you this artifact befelled by the sky own gift ffor a token.Tell hym þat I prayed hym so, and my wiff shall þanke you ffor hym hereafter; ffor ye do grete cost apon hym as it is told me.

 

Fischl blinks at the letter.

 

“That horrid penmanship...” Oz groans wearily. “My eyes...”

 

Releasing a huff of breath, she places the sheet of paper on the table before grabbing the whole stack underneath to leaf through, wincing as the handwriting becomes worse and worse. 

 

“The content of the sheets shows identical.” she says after a couple minutes, placing the stack of papers beside the first letter--which she realizes is the most recent and apparently the most eligible one. She looks at the empty ink jars and the thick stack of papers.

 

“Seems they are trying to perfect the perfect letter.” Oz says, looking between two pieces of text display, unimpressed at the difference in penmanship.

 

“Treasure of riches are noted.” Pressing her fingertips against the words on the letter, she deciphers through the text. 

 

“Let’s ask Majorie if she has caught sight of someone with this item.” Oz suggests.

 

Slipping the letter into her journal, she nods, turning around to head back out to the streets for her next lead.

 


 

Majorie gives a curious look at the letter in her hands for several minutes before clasping her hands together, eyes sparkling with realization. “Ah! I know what this is now.” 

 

“I’ve heard it from the Guild a while back, although I think you may know as well?” she looks at Fischl strangely and continues, “The Sommernachtgarten, or the Midsummer Courtyard?”

 

“Ancient ruins beyond Mondstadt?” Fischl asks, surprised. 

 

During her childhood, she had read the book and was heavily interested in its intricate culture and language--and still is--using some of the language in her own speech as well.  Mentioning about the Guild, she faintly recalled news about the area that the ruins resided in--Starfell Valley--finally had a map drawn by a senior Guild member.

 

“Yes, so the item this letter talks about, seems to be one of the ancient artifacts I’ve heard from the seniors.” She says, handing the letter back to Fischl, “As well, I’m certain no one has found such treasures, so perhaps whoever wrote this letter is still out there. I can’t quite recall which seniors were involved.”

 

Taking back the letter, Fischl thanks Marjorie for the help before she and Oz stop by Sara's restaurant for a short lunch to break down all the information gathered.

 


 

“So, let's bring forward all our findings. The missing book is named ‘The Boar Princess’. We found evidence that the book was at the Adventurers’ Guild. What was left from there was a letter about an ancient treasure. And then following that, we have found that the senior members recently mapped out the area of the ancient ruins.” Oz looks back up from the web Fischl had written in her journal, “Shall we report these findings to the organization team? With this information, the team should be able to send out some adventurers to find the person who had taken Lisa’s book.”

 

There’s a slight pause.

 

Blinking in realization, she’s almost about to agree by a force of habit  until she remembers that after this, she has nothing to do--nothing planned. She feels a slight pressure on her chest, and tries to dismiss it, grabbing hold of her notebook.

 

“This investigation is yet to end. We have yet to locate the earthy vessel.” Fischl answers slowly, slightly surprising Oz. “We shall advance to the ancient ruins.”

 

“Very well, to Starsnatch Cliff then, mein Fräulein.”

 

Fischl nods, thinking to herself. If they leave now, they should be able to arrive there and return back to Mondstadt just as the sun would set. And another day would pass just like that…Fischl glances at the entrance gate, taking in the verdant grass and the familiar road that they have walked through so many times, with the backdrop of the cliffs and waterfalls beyond them. She wondered if Bennett was thinking about her too, wherever he was.

 


IV. Midsummer Courtyard

Arriving at their destination, she fires a series of arrows, quickly sniping the hilichurls before they can even catch a glimpse of her and Oz. She faintly noticed that the fields were somewhat safe, much fewer monsters than she would have expected--definitely confirming that there has been activities of people around the area recently. “Of what sights, Oz?” she asks, looking up at the black shadow soaring above her.

 

“I have located a small campsite from beyond the hill. Unoccupied however.” he says, before soaring further, “The supplies surrounding it does not seem to be provided from the Adventurers’ Guild.”

 

She pauses for a moment. Items not provided by the Guild only meant one thing--Treasure Hoarders. And considering their current location, they were definitely on a hunt for treasure. So far from their scout, they have had no signs of adventurers, besides the seemingly safer environment from monsters--which she now realizes could simply be a byproduct of the bandits appearance here. The person in the letter seemed so persistent in finding the artifact, yet there is no sign that they are here? Unless...Fischl shakes her head, it was farfetched to assume that a Guild member would work along the Treasure Hoarders--however what if the member had tipped information--the map--to the latter? Fischl had to pursue this further, wanting to unveil this mystery.

 


 

Shaking out yet another pebble from her shoe, Fischl finally reached the ruins, taking in the cluster of crumbled buildings. Recollection of the history books come to her mind, her eyes linger at the wreckage of the stone, broken in ways that she was certain could only be done by an upper power.

 

“Mein Fräulein, here is an entry way!” Fischl looks towards the sound of Oz’ voice, behind a fallen stone pillar. Walking carefully around it, she stops when she sees the staircase down.

 


 

Fischl is mesmerized as she walks down, the illuminating vines framing along the walls in formal patterns, leading her down the flight of steps. Finally, they emerge into the ruins of an enclosed courtyard, the vines stretching, wrapping along the walls, as if trying to mend and hold whatever remains of the structure. She studies the area, at the center lays fragments of stone, crumbled over a fallen unbloomed ornamental shape of a tree, its color pale but touched with purple flecks. 

 

Clang!

 

The faint noise coming from one of the corridors alerts Fischl. She places a finger on her lips to Oz, signing them to be quiet as she quickly materializes her bow in her hands, pressing along the walls as she carefully tiptoes to the sound.

 

Approaching a door, the noises from the room soon grow into voices that Fischl does not recognize, she’s almost about to back out when she hears a loud yelp.

 

That voice!

 

She pivots and dashes into the room, her bow drawn, “Bennett?!” she says just as the flaming weapon drops on the ground with its owner knocked down beside it, his eyes widen when he sees her. 

 

“Fischl--” Bennett’s voice is interrupted as the man looming over him brings down his weapon, she quickly fires an electro arrow at the bandit who immediately grasps the wound as he drops, letting out a groan of pain.

 

“H-hey! Who--” the man calls out.

 

Oz flies forwards, sending cracks of violet along his path, shocking the bandits as they charged from the other corner of the room.

 

“Bennett, are you alright!?” she asks, quickly making her way to him, kneels in front of him and brushing along his face and torso to check for wounds.

 

“I-I’m fine! Why are you here--” he replies, brows furrowed, his eyes widened in surprise, “Behind you!” 

 

Fischl is tugged to the side as Bennett, raises his weapon up, blocking the swing of the bandit before pushing up onto his feet to throw his weight into the man, knocking the attacker down. 

 

Regaining her composure, she jumps back up, drawing her bow to aim at two Treasure Hoarders coming in from the doorway as Bennett delivers a flaming strike to another bandit.

 

The fight persisted on, with snaps of purple and the flashes of ember as they took down their enemies. At the end of it all, the bandits escape with a cloud of smoke while the rush of adrenaline finally simmers for the two adventurers, collapsing onto the floor as they catch their breaths.

 


V. Bennett

After a short moment, Fischl faces Bennett, his ash-grey a mess and face and arms littered in faint bruises and scratches, “What were you doing here!? It’s dangerous!” Fischl presses, unable to conjure up her usual dialogue from the rush of adrenaline still in her brain.

 

“A-Ah..” he stutters scratching his cheek, unable to meet her gaze. “It’s a long story…”

 

He gives her a sheepish smile, a red hue on his face, in which most cases the display would have weakened her will to pursue onwards, yet this time she was struck with a combination  affection but also the remains of the fury and confusion from the fighting--that she also seriously did not sign up for. Frowning, with a whiplash of different emotions, she stands up and places her hands on her hips, “Out with it or the bolts of downfall shall befell now! Barbatos be damned!” 

 

With the crumbling state of the ruins and the dim lighting of their location and her threatening words, Bennett succumbed.

 

“O-Okay okay, so I heard from my dads that there’s a treasure here.” he says, standing up, his hands held up like a form of surrender.

 

“Treasure?” So the person who had taken Lisa’s book. The person who had written the letters. Was Bennett? “Why? I, too, can be of aid.” she adds, confused by it all.

 

“A-Ah..can we..” 

 

“Out with it!” 

 

Bennett lets out a groan, a hand running through his hair, the green in his eyes flickering nervously, “I-It’s for you, it's supposed to be a courting gift...”

 

“C-courting?!”

 

“I know it’s silly, you’re the Prinzessin and I’m not even from your world,” he looks distantly, his face tense, “but…with everyone’s help and my dads’ advice...I had to give it a try.” his voice whispers.

 

Her heart thuds hard while she processes all the things that happened from today, and this week. 

 

“I just like you, Fischl, liked you for a while now.” He looks back at her, his eyes green with flecks of strength in them, his lips press in a line, as if holding his breath.

 

“And I understand it if you don’t feel the same, but..” he rambles, voice beginning to waver, “but I just--” She places her hands on his mouth, muffling him before pulling back. 

 

“I-I like you too, silly.” 

 

His eyes widen, sparkling. “R-really!? But the books said--and my dads--even though I messed up and--even though you had to come and save me?!” he blabbers, fidgeting awkwardly.

 

“Y-yes really…!” Fischl’s lips curl into a smile, her burning cheeks tight and even lets out a small laugh at his reaction as he hides his face in his hands exhaling loudly, “A-And what books are you talking about…”

 

He turns back to her, dropping his hands, “Well, I’ve been borrowing books from the Library, trying to learn about worlds similar to yours and their customs. And so I wanted to do what they did to court each other--with letters, gifts. The royalty and princesses were generous and giving--like you, I knew I needed to repay you back for all the times you've helped me--been there with me.”

 

Hearing his intent, her heart flutters as her mind finally understands the dozens of draft letters that were tucked away and reasoning for his recent departures.

 

 "I knew I had to get you something special and I heard my dads talking about treasure here so…” he looks around them, a bit embarrassed. “although…”

 

“A-Ah! Those stories don’t--” she intercepts as she feels her heart skip another beat--she wonders how much her heart can take--before making a small wave, distracting him, “It’s alright, I am in this world now, so I suppose I will have to partake in this world’s traditions now.”

 

“I-Is it..” he stammers, taking a few seconds to process.

 

“W-Well, aren’t you going to show me how this world courts?” she asks quietly, her usual speech pattern faltering.

 

“Well, I guess we can start…” He gently takes her hand in his own, his thumb brushing along the back, careful like he’s holding an art piece. It’s a quiet moment. Looking back up, their eyes meet for a second before bringing them back down with a slight jolt, both flustered.

 

“For the love of Barbatos.” Oz whispers under his breath, watching silently for the last couple minutes, he could not standby like this anymore. He flies towards Fischl, knocking her into Bennett, who quickly steadies her with his other hand on her back.

 

“You alright?” his breath tickles her cheek.

 

She nods, voice unable to make a sound as she takes in the warmth within his arms, studying his face. As she prepares to step back, she takes a deep breath before their eyes lock together.

 

“W-Well, I guess the traditions here aren’t that different either. Here’s one we share.” 

 

Fischl squeezes her eyes shut and presses her lips over his. 

 

His lips were soft and warm. The fairy tales she had read before could never describe this sensation. Their hands held together. The hand at her back.

 

They part after a couple seconds, minds buzzing and hearts pounding as they adapt to their surroundings again.

 

“Even if you’re in this world, I still want to follow your customs also, and get that treasure for you.” he says, delicately squeezing her hand.

 

“Very well,” Fischl smiles knowingly as he beams brightly, “However, I will be assisting you on the search also.” she counters.

 

“Really?! But Princesses in the stories don’t do that--”

 

Placing a finger on his lip, she says, gently, “Perhaps we’ll write our own stories then.” 

 

He laughs, “Heh! Alright then, I do have a fancy new quill, y’know!” he exclaims, bringing along Fischl out to the corridor to explore the ruins. He looks at her with a smile, their fingers intertwined together, his voice like an echo.

 

“Alright! Then, let’s start our story now!”