Chapter 8:

Reunion in Bevolia

Afflicted by Snow

     While Haetia rode Summer, Revi walked side-by-side with Linias, though he tried his best to keep a subtle distance away from her. He didn’t mind her so much as a person (although he did find her a little too quick to anger) but just the thought of her being very literally the essence of fire and flames unsettled him to a degree that he’d never relay to any of them. After all, what kind of bodyguard would he be if he was so frightened by just the very thought of fire?

Summer nudged Linias with her head and neighed, Snap out of it.

He brushed her mane with his hands, a slight smile breaking through. Yeah, yeah. I know…

Just then a kick of a heeled shoe came to the back of his head. As he rubbed it in slight pain he turned back to his Master, who was enthusiastically pointing far off into the distance.

“There it is! That’s it right? That has to be it there’s no way it isn’t!”

Before Linias could even look to see what Haetia was pointing at, Revi already responded, “Yep, that’s–”

“Linias, down! Now!”

The retainer obeyed, lifting his Master off the horse and draping him in his robe.


“Close, whatever yeah yeah. Let me live sheesh.”

Revi glowers at the two interacting and her voice raises to a shout in a flash, “Hey you know–!”

Instantly, Linias stops her, “It’s fine.”

“No it isn’t! Your fears are justified, aren’t you guys being hunted down?!”

“I said it’s fine.”

Like a sibling that had just gained the favor of their parent, Haetia sticks his tongue out and a few of Revi’s strands catch fire but she douses them out just as fast in an attempt to heed Linias’s words.

They had made it there much earlier than expected, considering that it was still early in the afternoon. It was just as easy as all the smaller towns to walk into the capital city of Bevolia but the city itself was far different from any of the preceding towns or anything they’ve ever been to for that matter.

The streets were more complex and the buildings were much larger, draped in all sorts of magical lights. Crowds of all sorts of races were flowing like rapids through the streets, completely outnumbering the humans (which were a scarcity in general), and for once there were actually guards standing watch in various corners.

Guards simultaneously eased Linias’s heart and churned it. They didn’t know anything about the group clad in black and red, so who knew if they were hiding amongst the guards of the city, or even if they were any of the residents who just appeared to be travelers or merchants or otherwise.

Linias’s eyes remained fixated on every minute detail, not just around Haetia, but even as far as over the horizon for any potential signs of danger. He already didn’t like the city. There weren't many trees or really much of any vegetation for that matter, which meant he couldn’t rely on them to help scout threats.

Juxtaposing him to no surprise was his Prince, who was already staring with starry eyes at everything and everyone that went by, and especially the different species of men. Orcs, centaurs, bipedal drakes. In his hometown there were only plain humans, other than Dharax the minotaur and Linias the mage, and obviously whatever he himself was. It was like taking a child to a candy store! So many options, he had no idea where to start!

Before he could even begin to get his hopes up and his fantasies brewing, a sharp tug of his arm pulled him back into his boring reality.

“Sire, I said–”

“Stay close and I am!”

“No you weren’t! You were starting to wander off!”

“Are you raising your voice at me?”

“Yes! I told you, when it comes to your safety–”

“Just shut up right there, for fucks sake–Fine! We’ll go to your stupid friend first, but then afterwards if you don’t let me explore after all of this I’ll make you lick the ground I walk for miles!”

Once again Revi’s hairs begin to stand in a flare, relaxing only when gestured to by Linias. She knew it really wasn’t her business how Haetia treats him, especially considering she just met them, but it still irked her beyond belief.

Linias didn’t think it would take very long to find Mitsuyo’s business, considering it was a large city and it had to have been raking in millions in a place like this and he wasn’t wrong. Fairly quickly did they find the red light district, and even more quickly did they find The Fox’s Den.

The establishment was much larger than the one he had originally gone to all those years ago, but with how many locations she had him work at he wouldn’t have been surprised if this was one of them, though he wouldn’t know unless he went inside.

It was surrounded by a man-made bed of water with a small bridge passing over. Several plants of varying shades of red decorated the outskirts, some nearly towering as high as the multi-level building itself.

Only when they had finally arrived did any of the other two finally mention something about the strange location for ‘information’, and to no surprise, Haetia was the first to make a comment.

“Your friend works in a brothel? Hah! Why am I not surprised?”

“I said she’s not my friend, and she doesn’t work in a brothel. She–”

A sly female voice that couldn’t be Revi’s finished, “I’m the owner, brat.”

Revi nearly choked on her spit in a cut laugh, having heard someone else talk back to the so-called pale prince for once. The voice originated from none other than Mitsuyo, who as per usual didn’t look like she aged a single year. In fact, she looked exactly the same. She still wore the same lavish and revealing kimono that didn’t humble her frame in the slightest and her nine ebony tails were just as fanned out as ever.

Mitsuyo blew the smoke from her pipe into Haetia’s face, making him wheeze and struggle to even throw his usual hissy fits.

“Hck–Lin–ias! Tell that–”

“Master, please be respectful. I know her quite well and it wouldn’t be in our best interest to upset her.”

“Heard that, brat? Let the adults speak.” She blew more smoke into his face, completely preventing him from even attempting to rebuttal.

Fully cutting Haetia out of the picture, Mitsuyo turns back to Linias and with a wide grin she pulls him into a tight embrace. “Ohhhhh how I’ve missed you my little money bag! You look so much more–Mmm! Oh they’ll eat you right up! I’d say please tell me you’re here to work but if you’ve brought your little ‘master’ with you let alone this far away from home then I assume Dharax is dead, right?”

Linias nods, not really too surprised by the fact that she made that assumption. From his time being under her wing he came to know that she really was the one to go to when it came to information. Aside from how much one learns in a business like hers, she was also incredibly perceptive, that much he knew without a doubt. After all, he learned everything he knows in that regard from her.

“Oh well what are we talking out here for, come in come in! You can leave your horse there, I’ll have someone pick her up. Don’t worry she’ll be in good hands, I know how prickly you are about that.”

A tad reluctant to leave her behind, Linias caresses Summer’s mane and her his cheek before they parted ways. The flamboyant kitsune led the three to a private room that looked more like a private cabaret room than anything else. A few employees came in, poured drinks for them all, then left them to their affairs.

Mitsuyo first offered the liquor with only Revi accepting the gesture as Linias was too professional and Haetia was too resentful from her previous antics, though Mitsuyo herself didn’t drink either.

“Carrying on then, information I take it?”

Linias nodded again, “A few things. Anything you could tell us about a group of armored soldiers wearing black and red. They burned down Haetia’s home and were the ones who killed Dharax as well. Then, anything about the Ivory Shore. And for her,” he gestured to Revi, “anything about a tribe of fire elementals. Hers went missing, as if they all just disappeared into thin air.”

Mitsuyo’s tails swayed calmly in a silent smile. From that alone, Linias knew that she had an idea about all of those things. He was a bit relieved, but already knew the information would come at a price.

“My, my. That’s quite a lot. You do know you’ll have to pay up, right?”

“Naturally. But if I’m here regardless, you probably know that whatever it is, I’ll be willing to do it.”

She smirks, impishly chuckling. “Hah, if you weren’t stuck with that brat, I would’ve begged you to work for ME forever!”

Haetia clicks his tongue at the aside though ultimately keeps quiet, knowing that the brothel’s owner would just get under his skin more if he spoke.

“Sure, I can tell you some things about all of that. Obviously you’d like to know, and who knows maybe what I tell you is completely useless, are you sure you still want to know then?”

She was always the type to play these kinds of games, and Linias knew her well enough to know it’d still be worth it in the end.


“Oh that’s what I love to hear!” Mitsuyo taps the embers out of her pipe, taking a pleasant inhale and slow exhale. “Then, here are my terms. I’ll give you some information about all of the above, after you work here for a night. By night, I mean…say…eight hours, since it’s about to be sunset. That’s a full shift on a good day for my more resilient workers, and if you’re here it’s about to be an amazing day. For me of course. Here, since you’ve caught me in a good mood I’ll throw in a little something extra. You and your buddies get to spend the night here as well, and no before you start getting your panties in a twist I don’t mean in the brothel itself. I have a manor on the side with rooms that I rent out to my more extravagant customers. How about it?”

“Wait, wait. You don’t want anything from us?” Revi interjected. “Me and Haetia I mean. Just Linias?”

“Obviously, unless you have some hidden sexual or social talent I don’t know of but I can see it on your faces. You’re a boorish woman–” She gestures to Revi with her pipe.


“And he is a brat.”

“Ugh.” Haetia retches and scowls, having already lost the tolerance for Mitsuyo’s personality, not that he had any to begin with.

Revi’s hairs begin to singe as her temper slowly rises along with her voice, “And what about Linias, huh?! You’re telling me HIM of all people is somehow a master of both of those things? Just look at him! He’s as hollow as a shade!–No offense.”

“You evidently don’t know him very well. That, and I taught him quite well then.”

Suddenly, Haetia bursts out of nowhere, “You TAUGHT him!?”

“Yes, you brat, I did. While you were off doing who knows or cares what, he was training in more than just combat. If you paid two cents to your surroundings at ANY age you would’ve figured that out.”

“Linias is that true?! You worked in a brothel!? Do you know how that makes ME look!”

Mitsuyo’s sharp, glowing eyes pierce the Prince from a distance, making him mentally retract the statement.

Not really seeing the shock behind the discovery, Linias answers as blandly as ever, “Yes, I did for a few years. After being taught the fundamentals, Mitsuyo thought it best to have me work in order to learn faster and more directly. The Fox’s Den has a portal in each branch, so one could travel between them and experience all of the different services they offer without traveling across the world. I worked at a few of the branches, though I’m not exactly sure which ones since I never really left the premises.”

“Well, don’t worry dear. I have a room specifically for you in all of my establishments and manors because oh how I knew that you’d come back one day! Now out both of you, out! Someone else will show you to your rooms, I need to get him ready for the floor!”

Before Revi or Haetia could even begin to oppose her, they were already being dragged out of the room and forced into a carriage to be taken to the nearby manor.

“How dare that wench! What happened to protecting me!”

“He probably thought you were safe in her hands.”

“Safe my ass! He never leaves me on my own and she clearly hates me and I hate her just as much if not more! Hmph!” With no choice but to accept his circumstances, Haetia collapsed into the carriage’s cushions.

Little did he know, Linias did in fact not trust her. Hence, he grew a thin trail of vines that followed him from the moment he left the brothel and could relay Haetia’s every move. If danger were to approach, he would’ve known before it could get anywhere near him. Plus, in this scenario he needed to make some sacrifices in order to get the information they all needed.

Though some part of him trusted that Revi would safeguard Haetia if it came down to it, as clear as her annoyance of him was. After all of Mitsuyo’s training he was never wrong about his intuitions when it came to people, and with how much Revi plainly wore her emotions he didn’t doubt his instincts in terms of her either.

     Despite his constant complaining, Haetia finally silenced himself once he saw how regal the manor was. If he thought his little estate that he grew up in was nice, it completely paled in comparison to this.

Almost everything was made out of marble to the point that lamps were hardly necessary as the natural light from the immense windows reflected off of the stone and illuminated the halls. Intricately designed porcelain vases were placed around every corner and statues handcrafted by only the finest artisans weren’t an uncommon sight either.

The employee led the pair to where their rooms for the night resided, including Linias’s despite the fact he wasn’t present. But more importantly, Haetia had his own room and a meal already prepared!

Finally, after all of their travels he was able to eat something that wasn’t fruits or vegetables. Porridge, freshly baked bread, meat thoroughly grilled and marinated, it was all he could ask for and more! The ivory prince wasn’t much of an eater in the first place but just finally having the option of something delectable for dinner–Oh he was over the moon!

Haetia crashed onto the Victorian-esc couch, stuffing himself as quickly yet elegantly as possible with the beautifully laid out meal set at his preferred temperature: just between cold and warm.

Revi, who was following this entire time, leaned against the doorway and watched the prince gorge himself in annoyance. “You’re getting a little too comfortable.”

He relaxed into the furniture, letting his stomach settle as he sipped on some more liquor. “I thought that without that bloated ugly oaf for a servant that I’d finally have some privacy but I guess you two are peas in a pod.” Haetia feigns a spit in her general direction.

In a blink, the end of the fire spirit’s locks erupt into flames. “HEY YOU FUCKING–UGHHH!” Mid sentence she cuts herself off, figuring it best not to do anything that would make it harder to supervise him than it already is. “Someone has to watch your reckless ass! What if you just go running off with how badly you want to go fucking around in the market?!”

“Then that’s my choice, who the hell are you to stop me?”

“What part of–You know what? Fuck it, fine. Do whatever you want, you’re not my problem anyway.”

Revi slams the bedroom door behind her on her way out, cutting off whatever words Haetia was beginning to bark back. As she sighed, her ends returned to strands and she studied her surroundings, just in case. In the process she spotted a thin green trail along the top edges of the wall. Were those…vines?

She doubted that they just had those for decoration, so there really could only be one other explanation.

“Yo, Linias, can you hear me through these things? Give me some sort of sign if you can, drop a flower or something.”

The vines rustled, first a single red petal emerged, then a bud, and then a blossom. A section of the vines lowered, offering the flower to her which she plucked with raised eyebrows.

“Huh, neat to know. I should’ve known you wouldn’t really leave him on his own. You’ll take it from here I guess?”

The greenery gave a makeshift head nod.

“Alright, don’t be too long. I don’t get the feeling that your ‘prince’ is all that inclined to stay put.”

Weirdly enough she found herself waving to the vines and they waved back before retracting to their former position, and only after did she realize how strange the image was.

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