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Honestly, Comrade?

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"No falling asleep, comrade."

That voice...

"The one and only."

Huh. Had he said that...

"You're talking out loud, comrade. Come on, let me help you up. You can't fall asleep here. Your little friend would never forgive me."

"Paimon did..."

"Yeah, she found someone. Consider my surprise when a half-frozen icicle appeared before me! She could barely talk."


"Don't worry, she's safe. I left her with the adventurers down there. They told me to not go up here. Can you believe them?"

Aether found himself gathered up in strong, familiar arms and pressed close to the warmth.

"Me! I've been wandering in mountains like that since I could walk. No dragon cemetery is gonna defeat me! Ah, but I suppose it would have been nice to meet this guy when he was still alive..."

Aether could barely keep his eyes open, but noticed Durin's spine appearing above them, as eerie as ever. But it blocked the biting winds out a little and soon they were almost gone as Tartaglia carried him inside one of the caves.

"Now let's get those wet clothes off... oh comrade, you are almost frozen stiff. I can't have that, how are you going to swing your sword and fight me?"

Aether managed a little laugh.

"Now there's my Aether. Come here," Tartaglia said and Aether sighed as he was pressed against warm skin. Tartaglia must have taken his clothes off too. "Sitting here in cold clothes and freezing to death won't do us any good. I'm not dying on a mountain like that. And while I am here, neither are you."