The Master and The Slave
The wooden door opens, revealing a densely packed interior of a tavern complete with a long wooden counter with barrels stacking on each other behind it, beautiful barmaids with revealing cleavage and patrons, half-drunk from drinking ale. It's not a true tavern without a lively music playing in the background while drunk people are singing along to it.
Nesto took a step inside along with Neya, Venhana, and Caretena.
They were immediately greeted with raised wooden mugs fills with foamy Ale and joyous cheers by Vizrez, Digia, Lilia, Grie, Melud, and the rest of the humans along with the group of Wolics that they met earlier. Nesto gaze falls on the boys sitting on the stools with one of their eyes swollen from the punches that were exchanged between them. They both had a sulky look on their face, Nesto guesses that nobody wins the fight, that's mean he lost a coin.
Neya look at them both with a worried face, "What happens?" She said as the elf girl walks in fast pace toward them.
Venhana walks to Nesto's side and whispers a question, "Did she know about the fight?"
"Nope, and I bet she doesn't know why they are fighting. I love my master, but she can be a little dense about romance," Nesto sigh.
Venhana let out a small chuckle, and said, "Young love. Oh, I miss them."
"I'm going to find myself a drink and a seat," Caretena said her manner seems gloomy.
Nesto stops her tracks by lightly chop the top of her head with his hand, and said, "I know what you are thinking, and don't worry about it too much. I will be fine."
Caretena let out a groan. "I can't help it," She said as she walks away to find an empty seat that is away from the crowd.
"Don't worry, Nesto. I will keep her company," Venhana said, and she follows after the sulking princess.
Neya examine the bruise on both of the boy's eyes, "Nothing happens, they both hit a pole at the same time," Melud said while trying to contain his laughter.
"It's nothing, I'm okay," Kinnith said with a smile, so he doesn't worry the ginger-haired elf girl.
"No pain. Will heal." Vel said with a similar intention like the elf boy next to him.
"Are you sure?" Neya asks, as concern still accompany her expression.
"They're fine... Sometimes boy's get hurt, but they will manage. If you really want them to feel better why not you gave them a kiss on their bruise, that will surely make them feel better. Am I right?" One of the Wolics said.
"What? A kiss... No, I couldn't... They won't want me to kiss them... I'm not like the other girls... Forget, what I said," Neya said as her cheeks grow red while she twirls a lock of her hair.
"Chu, chu! Just do it," Digia comment at the back with a toothy smile on her face.
"Do it! Do it!" Vizrez chants.
"Chief, you can do it!" Melud cheers.
Whistle and cheers can be heard from the rest of the group behind the two boys, under the great peer pressure, Neya's mind begins to swirl, and her heart begins to beat irregularly. She quickly lay a small kiss on two of the boy's cheeks in front of her, then she hides her face in both of her hands while highly regretting what she did.
The two boys jaw drop while they felt astonished at what happens earlier. Vel places a hand on his cheek that was caress by the elf girl soft lips, his heart pounds wildly while his mind shows a future that he wants.
Kinnith began to feel his lungs closing up while his brain tries to make sense what just happens. With a happy grin, he stands ups, and walks to the counter while saying, "I'm going to get something to drink."
Vel also stood up and walk to the door while mumbling, "Air... Think."
Did Nesto just witness Neya laid a kiss on the two boys, it's not the anger that he is feeling right now, but he felt relieved because the elf girl that he cherishes so much had conquered her own fears. She touches another person directly with her skin, she did it.
Nesto rushes to Neya, hugging her from behind, and lift her up while swinging her around the tavern. The elf girl let out a yelp of surprise while the man lifts her up in the air and twirling her around the room.
"You did it, I'm proud of you!" Nesto cheers.
The crowd is confused at what happens, but seeing the silver-haired man in happiness make them roar in a joyous tone.
"Nesto!! What is going on?!" Neya shout.
"You just kiss two boys without feeling nausea or fear," Nesto stops and said.
"I did... I did... My fears it's gone, we did it," Neya said while the silver-haired man turn her body around, so he can clearly see her.
"No, you did it... I'm proud of you," Nesto said, and smooch the elf girl foreheads.
Nesto lifts her up to his shoulders, and he yells out, "Let's celebrate to our heart content!"
The tavern went wild with approvals cheers after they heard the man statement. The door opens causing the tavern to stop they cheer while they all look at the door, surprised to see the elf that is standing in the doorway.
It was King Orpheus with an unamused look on his face. He took steps in and a few of his knights enter the room, wearing fully steel armor with weapons ready by their side. The Knights stand beside the king, always vigilant of their king's safety.
The patron looks at each other while wondering why is the king here. With a flattened lip, he asks "Are we not here to enjoy ourselves?"
"We are enjoying ourselves, My King," one of the patrons answers.
"Then why stop? Bartender, one of your finest Ale for me, and for all the people in this tavern!" King Orpheus said with a prideful smile on his face.
"Coming right up, My King," the bartender said with a merry voice as he serves a hundred ale for the people in the tavern.
The king and his knights take a seat right next to the princess. Just after the king sat at the table, one of the barmaids brings his mug of Ale to him. The barmaids let out a giggle as she receives a thank you and a smile from the king. After the king drinks his Ale, only then the others drink their own.
Music resume after everyone drank their Ale, the merry atmosphere return back to the tavern. Singing echoes throughout the tavern while some of the people are dancing to the melody at the center of the tavern.
The door opens again revealing someone familiar to Nesto; a short blond-haired elf who Nesto recognizes as Aymon; the Amberdall family head chef. He waves at Nesto as he walks to the counter. The silver-haired man waves back as he dances with Neya by his side.
Once again the door opens, revealing an elf wearing luxurious clothing with a grin on his face. The elf is none other than Prince Ariamnes, he had come after hearing a great party is being held here.
"Nesto!!" Ariamnes yell out in glee.
Nesto let go of Neya's body so she could take a rest then he walks toward the prince and clasps their hand with each other. The prince pulls the man closer for a hug without letting go his hand, Nesto returns back the hug.
The night went on and people kept on coming to the tavern to enjoy themselves. A lot of people in that tavern become drunk and drunker especially the king, Nesto, and Ariamness. At first, they were teasing the two boys then out of nowhere all three of them start roughhousing each other until they broke one of the tables.
Neya took a seat right to the princess, she had a somewhat happy smile on her face as she watches her family try to wrestle each other.
"Where is Venhana?" Neya ask.
"She is flirting with the Cyclops woman right over there," Caretena gesture with her heads toward the two of the people she spoke of.
Venhana was giggling like a little girl as she ran her finger on Vizrez biceps, Neya let out a mile and turn her attention back to the princess, " I never seen Nesto this drunk before."
"I have seen it once before, It was before the..." Caretena voice trails off.
"Before?" Neya said.
"Forget what I said," Caretena said.
"He looks so happy right now," Neya comments.
"He is, or he is trying to cast his fear away for tonight," Caretena said.
"What do you mean fear?" Neya ask.
"Don't you remember, Nesto lost his soulmate during the war. People don't just forget that kind of thing," Caretena said.
Caretena statement has built a new-found look at Nesto condition right now, she felt sad and guilty for bringing him back to another war. A frown form and her gaze fall to the table in front of her. Caretena notices the gloomy expression on the elf girl face, she quickly changes the tone of her voice.
"I'm sorry, I was just being a mopey brat. Nesto is fine, he is a grown adult," Caretena said as she tries to lift the girl spirit up.
"No, you are right, it's not your fault. I think I need some fresh air," Neya said, and she walks to the door that leads outside the tavern.
Caretena facepalms herself as she just realizes that she ruins someone else mood with her own gloomy thought. She watches as the ginger-haired elf girl walks out the door, she wanted to catch up to her to make her feel better, but she couldn't think of anything to say towards the saddened girl.
The ginger-haired girl exits the tavern, then she took a seat on the wooden porch. She watches as the drunken people swaying left and right while trying to walk toward their home. Neya rests her chins on her hands and lets out a sigh.
The door behind her opens, and the sound of footsteps are getting closer toward her. She turns around and let out a smile as she saw a familiar face behind her. Nesto head bobs downward with a smile as he walks, and sat right next to her. Neya could see the drunkenness seeping off Nesto from how he moves and look.
"Oof, why are you here alone, my kind miss?" Nesto said with a grin on his face.
"I'm worried about tomorrow, there are so many things that could go wrong," Neya said.
"True... But there are so many things that could go right tomorrow," Nesto comments
"You know why?" Nesto ask.
She looks at him a thirst for an answer while her eyes sparkle with anticipation, and she asks, "Why?"
The man looks behind him at the gaping door and sees a glowing light of warmth while hearing the sound of joy seeping through the gaps.
"It's because you have so many people that cared about you, that they are willing to risk their lives for you," Nesto said as a smile crept on his face.
Neya looks through the gaps and sees what Nesto is seeing; friends, family, and many others. They all here to support her, to see through the future that she had hoped for along with her.
"Your right... how could I be so blind?" Neya ask.
"You're not blind, but sometimes it hard to see it through all that worried that are clouding your mind," Nesto said.
"Nesto... thank you for being by my side for a long time... through pain, misery, happiness, and joy. You have always been there for me," Neya said as her right eye begin to tear up.
"It an honor... no, It was never been for honor or pity. I stay by your side because I want too, you're the greatest master that I could ever have," Nesto said.
Neya reaches out around Nesto's neck with both her arms, she pulls him closer for an embrace, and gently rest her head on his shoulder. Nesto wraps his arm around the elf girl back and pull her closer, but instead of a smile on his face, a frown crept in without the girl noticing it.
The night ended with everyone going back to their rooms, some with newfound mates, others alone, while a few went to the temple to pray for tomorrow before they went to sleep. While for some people like Nesto, they sharpen their weapons, practice their skill, strengthen their focus, and stone their heart.
Because what comes next, is something that none of them could ever prepare.