Diluc had never thought he would be travelling to Inazuma, yet here he is. Beidou's ship sways with the waves, thrashing around. Yeah no, Diluc wasn't the best with motion...
Inazuma was holding a vision championship, celebrating the end of the vision hunt decree. The winner gets a free cruise ride, and the traveler BEGGED him to come with them. After all, what's a better way to go to Sumeru than a freaking cruise ship? Diluc wouldn't say he would be the first choice to enter such competition but as it was separated by weapon category, Diluc was the traveler's first option for the claymore category. The traveler sure had many friends, bringing unrecognized faces each with different weapons. Since the traveler was so busy with all his other companions, Diluc sat on the boats edge, looking out against the waves in awe.
Soon enough everyone could see Ritou on the horizon. Oh and how beautiful it was. Diluc had only heard explanations of Inazuma but it was a lot prettier than he had originally thought.
The boats edge had reached the docks, and the traveler and their companions finally entered Ritou.
This trip was going to be amazing, Diluc could feel it.
"Name, weapon, and vision type?"
"Diluc, Claymore, and Pyro."
"Congrats, you've been registered for the competition, just head over to the claymore tent and await for the competition to begin at about 12:30!"
Diluc had to say his farewell and good-lucks to the traveler and their other companions, and headed to the claymore tent. Diluc felt a pit of nervousness in his stomach, especially since he's alone in a completely new nation. But he never lets it show on his face.
The claymore tent was finally in view, settled under a Sakura tree. Loud and thunderous voices could already be heard, Diluc was in for a hell of a ride.
As Diluc was about to enter the tent, he knocked into a large man running out of the tent.
"Sorry didn't see ya there little dude!"
The stranger pat Diluc's shoulder roughly and ran off. Well that was a hell of an introduction to his competition.
Diluc was far from little, but compared to that man he was quite small. If someone that huge was in the competition there's a slim chance Diluc could win...
Diluc peeked into the claymore tent and observed his competition. They all looked fairly average, so that other man would most likely be his biggest competition. Diluc maneuvered his way to the corner of the tent away from everyone else and waited for the competition to begin.
"I'm back!" A thundering voice came from the entrance, and there stood that giant man. A bunch of groans went throughout the tent. It was obvious that people were trying to avoid that man. He did seem fairly loud.
Diluc watched as he tried to talk to a lot of different people, getting turned down each time. Until his eyes locked with Diluc's. "Little dude!"
The man ran over to Diluc's side, reaching out his hand.
"Arataki Itto's the name! Say, you look pretty strong for being so small! You might even give me a hard time!"
Diluc looked up with a stone cold face, taking in what Itto looked like. The man looked very... unique. His horns standing out the most.
"Do ya like my horns? They're the real deal! Wanna touch em?"
Diluc locked eyes again with Itto, this time speaking.
The air filled with a bit of an awkward tension.
"Aha aha, you're a funny one! What's your name?"
Itto went to sit down next to Diluc. Great. He was staying.
"Diluc, not a fan of idle chit-chat."
"Oh c'mon lighten up! We are at a competition we are supposed to be having fun! What vision do you have? For me, I have geo!"
Itto puffed out his chest where his vision lay, somewhat boasting about having it. Diluc looked at the vision, then his sight drifted lower. What the hell did this man not know public decency enough to wear a shirt...
Stop staring Diluc he will notice, he mentally slapped himself.
"Oh that's weird! Usually every pyro person I meet is super energetic!"
"Yeah and every geo vision holder I've met has had some form of intelligence."
Itto let out a thundering laugh, startling Diluc. Just a little.
"Oh my god you're a funny one! I feel like we are gonna get along just fine!"
Diluc thought otherwise.
"Follow your leaders to your special competition area! Good-luck and make it back safe!"
It was finally time for the first part of the competition. It was more or less a race using aspects of each weapon type to be able to pass.
Everyone in the claymore group followed the leader, far out to a rocky terrain. Itto walked next to Diluc like they were friends, Diluc clarifies they are NOT. But Itto does seem the take the hint and didn't talk all that much the way there, just stretching out his arms while walking.
"We are here, everyone line up at the starting line so I can go over the rules"
"No sabotaging your competition, this is a fair and friendly match. So no pushing, shoving, tripping.
It doesn't matter how you cross the finish line, as long as you cross you move onto the next round.
Be warned, the path ahead may have many monsters on it and you guys are on your own. good-luck and stay safe."
"Is everyone ready? 3... 2... 1... go!"
Everyone went off running down the rocky path, putting their all into getting ahead while Diluc was just jogging behind... with Itto still next to him..?
"Why aren't you running?" Diluc wont lie, it was kinda nice having someone stay back with him so he wasn't alone. but he would never admit that.
"I could ask you the same question little dude! I'm saving stamina for the harder parts!"
Great, he had at least some smarts in him. It doesn't matter, as long as Diluc crosses that finish line he will be good to go.
The first obstacle they came across was already cleared out by those ahead of them, easily avoiding the corpses of several hilichurls they moved on.
They caught up to the group on the second obstacle, everyone was swinging their claymores to break off a rockslide that had covered a cave entrance.
Diluc swung his claymore from off his back straight into the middle of the rock pile, Itto following after.
Soon enough the rockslide was cleared and everyone moved on.
The competition already seemed out of breathe due to them running ahead, this was a good sign for Diluc. This means he will finish most likely before everyone else.
That was until there was a rock climb wall up a cliff. Diluc couldn't climb for shit oh no...
Diluc and Itto stood back, allowing the others to go first. Then it was Diluc's turn, Itto was watching.
Great, time to embarrass himself in front of his new 'friend'.
Diluc grabbed the first rock that stuck out, pulling himself up with his feet swinging, trying to find anything to grip on.
"You okay dude?" Itto had called out from below.
"Y-yeah! I got this" Diluc strained his voice out as he reached for the next rock, nearly slipping, repeating this for the next few rocks above him.
"Im coming up!"
"Wait! I'm not up yet!" Diluc tried to be quicker, but Itto was easily gaining on him. Finally Itto was right below him.
"Hop on my shoulders little dude!"
"What? Are you insane?! At this height you are already carrying a claymore, no way you can climb this with another person AND another claymore!"
"Trust me dude."
Sigh. What other choice did he have? If he kept up his pace, they would never catch up to the crowd.
Diluc lowered his legs on Itto's shoulders, trying his best seat himself.
Once Itto figured Diluc was situated enough, he started climbing once more. And a hell of a lot faster than Diluc, even with the added weight.
"See dude? Told ya I could do it!"
Diluc was gripping onto Itto for dear life. If he fell at this height... no don't think about it.
Diluc's hands wrapped around Itto's horns and shoved his face into his white hair. Its so soft..
Soon enough they reached the top, Itto boasting about how strong he was and he knew he could do it.
Diluc still was holding onto Itto for dear life.
"Hey dude, are you afraid of heights?"
"no." Diluc mumbled into Itto's hair. why is it so soft?
They stood like that for a few seconds before Itto continued jogging forward, Diluc still on his shoulders.
"Wait woah woah I can run myself let me down."
Diluc moved to get off Itto but Itto grabbed his leg, "Consider this a thankyou for dealing with me and actually letting me stay with you, no one else wanted to be with me. Just relax a little bit, I'll take care of the running."
Diluc said nothing, but also never moved to get off of Itto's shoulders. Diluc was glad Itto couldn't see his face right now. It was red, really red.
Itto was actually really considerate, he knows he can be annoying but he is thanking Diluc for letting him stay..
Diluc couldn't explain it but it made something in his chest move. It was embarrassing being treated as the smaller one when his whole life he was told to "man up." Maybe he can let himself be treated like this a bit longer..
Once they had finally caught up to the group, Diluc was shook awake.
Wait he was asleep?
"Oh my god how long did I sleep." Diluc slapped his hands on his face. Why was he embarrassing himself so much around this man?
"Its okay sleeping beauty, just remember we are in a competition! I cant carry you the whole time or else the others might say something, lets run together?"
Itto flashed a bright grin as Diluc slid off his back and onto the ground.
Diluc started jogging as Itto followed.
"Hey Itto, why did you choose me?"
"You looked lonely and I thought you were pretty cute, I couldn't pass up the opportunity of a lifetime to hang out with you!"
Oh my god he was like a giant puppy, innocence in his words but Diluc still flushed up. As the most wanted bachelor of Mondstat he was used to people like this. But somehow this was different.
He wasn't the bachelor of Mondstat here, he was just his regular old isolated self. He was Diluc.
"Thankyou." Diluc whispered. Itto could hear it and see the flush on his ears but never commented on it, just smiling and jogging ahead next to Diluc.
"You're still annoying, though."
"Wh.. Hey! I'd like you to know you're talking to Arataki Itto, the one and oni! I will not tolerate this slander!"
He was obviously joking around as he acted like a baby, but Diluc still chuckled at this.
Itto wasn't so bad after all.
The group encountered a monster camp. A huge one.
The competition operators most likely didn't know about this otherwise they wouldn't have sent all of us in.
Diluc could tell it was the abyss order. The many mages made it obvious. Some competitors were already on the ground, unable to handle all of the monsters. Others were struggling to fight. This wasn't good. Diluc had to step in.
He grabbed his claymore from his back and charged forward, forgetting about Itto.
He had lives to save.
Diluc infused his blade with pyro, hitting the cryo abyss mage right into the shield. After a few swings it easily broke.
As Diluc finished it off, he observed to see how many more enemies there were. Itto was knocking off a bunch of smaller hilichurls but otherwise it seemed like the monsters were taken care of.
Or at least, Diluc thought.
An electro mage teleported behind him and before he could react to the sound, an electricity shot all throughout his body.
Diluc didn't even KNOW electro abyss mages existed. But now he could really feel it.
Diluc fell to one knee on the ground and saw with a blurred vision as Itto ran towards him.
Today wasn't his day, was it? He cant stop embarrassing himself around this man.. but Itto never seemed to mind.
Diluc reached for his claymore in a haze and stood next to Itto's side, helping him finish the mage off.
They stood together in victory, some competitors ran away and others knocked out on the ground.
"Diluc, you're an amazing fighter! You took do- oomph!"
Itto was mid sentence before looking down, seeing an almost passed out and injured Diluc leaning against him.
"sorry for.. all the trouble... never seen an electro mage.." Diluc whispered.
"Hey little dude, don't worry about it. Here let me carry you, you're too out of it to walk in this state. Did that mage fry your brain?"
It may just have. Diluc made no effort to stop Itto from swinging both their claymores over his back and then picking up Diluc in his arms. Diluc leaned into Itto's chest and sighed in contempt.
Maybe that mage really did fry his brain.