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“Diluc, watch out!”
Diluc instinctively ducked, and a knife whizzed over his head. He glared in the direction of the assailant, and then saw Venti take him out- pushing him over, knocking him out when he hit his head on a table.
“There we go,” Venti said with a smile, wiping his hands on his shirt. “Coast is clear, Treasure Hoarders taken out.”
“I’m going to pay for the repairs by selling everything he owns,” Diluc growled, nudging an unconscious Hoarder’s body with his foot.
Diluc sighed as he looked around the bar, drinks spilled, chairs knocked over, destruction everywhere.
“Well, as long as you’re safe,” Venti said, standing on his tiptoes and pressing a kiss to the redhead’s lips.
“I guess-” Diluc began, and then there was a whizz followed by a slice, the sound coming from behind Diluc’s head.
Then there was a thump.
Diluc looked down, a hand coming to the back of his head. His severed ponytail laid on the ground, and Diluc’s face was blank.
“Oh…” Venti said. There was a lone Treasure Hoarder in the doorway, holding a throwing knife and looking surprised at his own actions.
The taller man snarled, and threw a shot glass at the Treasure Hoarder so hard that as soon as it connected he fell to the ground.
He looked back at Venti, breathing relatively heavily. “ ‘M fine,” he said, his voice gruff.
“Oh, no, no, dear, you’re not,” Venti replied, making a sympathetic face as he ran his hands through the now-short hair. “I know how much you cared about it…”
“It grows back,” Diluc countered, pretending that he wasn’t internally screaming.
“You had it like that since you were little, though...and now what will I yank on?” Venti pouted.
“I told you, bard, it grows back. I’m fine.”
“Okay…” Venti said. He walked out the door, giving the severed hair one more glance as he exited.

When he was truly gone, Diluc sat down on the floor and sighed. He stared at the hair and then laid on his back.
It doesn’t mean anything, Diluc thought. It’s just hair. It doesn’t mean anything. Nothing, nothing, nothing at all.
“Honorary Knight, I’m appalled! Don’t you know that a girl’s hair is her life!?” Lisa had said. Aether had sighed, and continued on his adventure.

Kaeya, Razor, and various other Monstadtian young men had sported long hair. His fiery red locks had been extremely crucial to his signature look, and he had learned to take care of it without Adalinde’s help. (Venti’s help didn’t count, since it was anything but helpful.) Diluc had gotten used to its weight when he moved, and already his neck felt cold. His asymmetrical lock of hair on the side of his face felt unnatural, and now stupid. Diluc got up, putting the ponytail in the trash. Then he got his cloak on, putting his hood up. Time to visit Noelle for help.

When the regulars walked into Diluc’s bar the next night, they almost thought they were in the wrong place. His signature high ponytail was gone, replaced by a short cut that showcased his neck. He looked over, and raised an eyebrow.
“You gonna order or not?” He placed a drink mixer down- heavier than appropriate- and looked at the regulars.
Suddenly, they were pushed aside by a familiar bard.
“DILUC!” he wailed, running to the bar counter. He threw his arms around Diluc’s now-exposed neck.
“Don’t- stop- what-it’s fine.” he growled, pushing Venti back onto a barstool.
The regulars looked at each other. The bard that Diluc hates...touched him? Hugged him? And he didn’t instantly kill him? What? And...what happened to the ponytail? Did the bard do it?
The chatter of the bar revolved around Diluc and Venti. Soon, the talk of the bar became the talk of the town.

When the bar closed, Venti and Diluc walked through Monstadt.
“I’m sorry about your hair.”
“Don’t worry, bard. It grows back.”
Venti laughed.