Neeba stared straight ahead as the group carefully crossed over the bridge; ignoring Fatina's inquiring gaze and gritting his teeth as he felt the familiar phantom-like presence press against his back, Neeba schooled his features as a throaty laugh echoed within his mind.
Jil often wondered about the far away expression that he saw on Kaaya's face when she wasn't aware that anyone else was awake; whenever he saw the look in her eyes, Jil wanted nothing more than to make her smile again.
Coopa sighed as she watched Melt hopelessly flirt with the young climbers, making them blush and giggle - he would inadvertently say something stupid and she would have to rush over and grab him before one of the girls attempted to throw him over the edge of the cliff - her no good master would never learn.
Ahmey was content to silently sit around the fire and polish her weapon but Jil slowly began to break her walls and engage her in nightly conversations regarding stance and technique when fighting.
Fatina stalled as her group began to depart until Kally silently tugged on her hand; glancing over her shoulder, Fatina tried to ignore the guilt of leaving Jil behind in Meskia.
Kaaya and Ahmey entered the hot spring and Coopa sighed, sinking until only her head was visible above the water - the world just wasn't fair.
Utu glanced at the sea pepper in his hand and the sleeping Fatina to his right, wondering if it would be worth it.
The Succubus sighed, lazily falling into one of the cloud-like seats and pouting - Ki was suspiciously silent and refusing to pay her any mind.
Ahmey had been prepared for the worst when joining the Uruk army but she had never expected to have her heart broken in the process.
The silence began to unnerve Jil but the broken look in Fatina's eyes kept him from leaving her side.
Melt dropped the stew, spitting out everything he could when Jil praised Coopa for her masterful use of sea peppers in the newest dish.
Neeba slowly counted to three and tried to ignore the bickering behind him; the sudden blast of fire made him trip and he was roughly shoved to the side as Fatina chased after Jil, promising to beat some sense into him.
Kally paled and Utu laughed nervously as Fatina charged her weapon and slowly stalked towards them - perhaps the slime trick had not been the greatest idea.
Ethana took in Kelb's confused expression, wondering just what it would take for the dense man to understand her feelings.
"At least this time, nothing is moving!" intoned Kaaya as Coopa could only stare in horror at the bubbling mess in the pot.
As Druaga began to disappear, Gilgamesh dropped his sword and shield and embraced Ki as tightly as possible.
Melt had to admit that this new party was far better than the last; even the presence of Coopa and Jil could not take away the beauty of Ahmey and Kaaya walking in front of him.
Kaaya stared at the blue flowers in Jil's hand, forcing herself not to react beyond a gentle smile; as he walked away with a sheepish grin, Kaaya's grip tightened, nearly crushing the flowers as guilt began to wash over her.
Kelb could not stop the laughter as he watched Ahmey's eyes light up at the sight of the familiar treat - it was good to know some things never changed.
The rest of the journey was made in silence after one particularly sensitive question ended with Neeba tripping up the stairs as Kaaya passed him with a look of feigned innocence upon her face.
Ki silently watched Kaaya gently tease Jil, a smile forming upon her features as she began to remember her days with Gil.
Utu remained unimpressed by the chore of cooking as he watched Kally expertly chop the vegetables under Coopa's watchful gaze.
It was almost becoming a daily routine - Ahmey was the first to wake as usual, Coopa groggily sitting up not long after and pinching Melt's nose in an effort to stir him while Jil lightly stretched the kinks from his back, doing his best not to jostle a yawning Kaaya who leaned against his shoulder.
The soft words escaped her mouth before Fatina could stop them- the silence in the aftermath of Kally's death was beginning to drive her mad- "Hey, Utu, would you tell one of your stories?"
Kaaya wore a sweet smile but Fatina only narrowed her eyes, scowling as she wondered how no one else could see just how fake the gesture really was.
Melt felt almost disappointed when he caught sight of Jil helping Coopa to fix her bow tie - now there was no reason for him to fuss over the younger girl while appearing annoyed by the menial task.
Kally often wondered what Neeba wasn't telling them but the thought of all the treasure he could bring back to his village spurred him forward.
Ahmey was not surprised to find that Kelb was as obnoxious as ever though she found that her headache appeared faster than it used to; silently wondering why Ethana had stayed with such a fool after all this time, Ahmey did her best to drown Kelb out as they traveled towards the nearest settlement.
Despite everything, Jil had never been happier than the day Neeba had invited him to join his party of climbers.
Fatina nearly crumpled to the ground as she attempted to stand on her own two feet; she tried to assure herself that the sudden breathless feeling was only due to Jil quickly grabbing her around the waist and not the fact that his body was far too close to her own.
Kaaya mused that it was determination that lead Jil forward, Melt claimed it was one too many hits to the head, but Ahmey and Coopa both agreed that Jil was just too nice of a person when it came to their small group.
The familiar feeling of Kaaya's magic washed over Jil as he prepared to deliver the final blow.
Neeba glared at the smirking presence to his left as he watched Kally help Fatina regain her footing among the narrow pathways.
Coopa often wondered just what she was going to do with her useless master but she found herself content as long as he managed to remain unscathed - but perhaps she would throw in a few extra sea cucumbers to be on the safe side.
A muffled sob escaped from a sleeping Kaaya and Ahmey was grateful to find that the rest of the group was composed of heavy sleepers; gently stroking Kaaya's hair, Ahmey tried to comfort the younger woman as much as she could without waking her.
Yury scowled in annoyance as Coopa threw yet another lightening stone into the tank though he couldn't help but let his gaze linger as her face lit up in excitement while watching the stone's glow.
Ethana had thought ignoring Melt would make him leave her alone but she found it only made him speak louder and use extravagant hand gestures - despite her mood, a wry smile appeared.
Kaaya schooled her features as the Succubus taunted her motives but soon bristled as the Succubus lightly traced a finger across the back of Jil's armor.
Melt protested but Coopa was firm - roper tentacles were both nutritious and easy to store while traveling.
Jil hid a smile behind his hand while he watched Ahmey's face light up as she gently patted the small dog that belonged to the innkeeper.
Kally poked Utu, pointing to Fatina and Neeba, "That isn't going to end well, is it?"
Jil coughed, waving his hand to help clear the smoke while Melt nervously laughed, claiming it was a small oversight as he ignored the accusing glares coming from Kaaya, Ahmey and Coopa.
Fatina wanted nothing more than to turn around but the lingering warmth of Neeba's touch spurred her onwards.
A light flush formed on Jil's face as Kaaya gently twined her fingers with his own.
The arrow found its mark and Neeba smirked as Pazuz fell to the ground, clutching helplessly at his chest.
Jil pulled the cord of Ahmey's spear with every bit of strength he possessed, collapsing in relief as the weapon pierced deep into Druaga's neck.
Kelb set a blistering pace for the army's ascent to the top of the tower but he knew the strength of his men - anyone who was not able to keep up was not fit to serve the kingdom of Uruk.
Kaaya put all of her feelings into the kiss, wishing Jil would understand what it was she couldn't say but knowing that it would never be enough.
Fatina jerked at the uncomfortable sensation, pushing up with a start and knocking Jil off balance; the cold water was enough to wake her fully and Fatina was startled to find herself staring at the shores of Meskia.
Coopa ignored the sounds of Melt protesting behind her as she became entranced by her first look at the inside of the tower.