“C’mon, Ery!” Lucio calls me over, waving his metal arm at me emphatically, “Get your feet wet a little! The water’s really warm this time around!”
″Nenai.” I answer him from afar, squinting as I try to see the curvatures of ripples through the small river. The clay is resting on the nearby table as I use my fingers and the blunt edge of the wooden tool to recreate the texture in front of me. At least half of the miniature sculpture is complete; once the river is finished I can go make Lucio's figure wading his feet out into the flowing current.
Despite not looking at him, I can hear the pouting in his voice as he calls, "Eryyyy, can't you work on that thing later?"
"We can always wade in the river together later, Lushiyo," I calmly explain, briefly glancing over to ensure I have the correct patterns of water down. "I would like to get this finished first."
I hear the sound of water droplets hitting the stone pavement before wet, dripping footsteps make their way towards the table.
An audible plop can be heard as Lucio grabs the towel nearby and begins drying his feet, "Well, when are you gonna be done, Ery?"
"As long as it takes for me to get the pattern down."
"But what if that's too long?"
A smile parts on my lips as I set down the clay onto the dampened sheet of sculpting paper and face the blonde man, "Well, Lushiyo, if you are patient enough, then I can make up for it by wading with you in Zephyr Bay this weekend."
I see his eyes pique in interest before he quickly huffs, "You're always making up for lost time, Ery! Not that I mind it, but why don't you ever just do things like ... right now?"
"I don't think we could immediately head down to Zephyr Bay so soon."
"But why not?" he places his metal hand atop of my own gently, but his eyes tell another tone.
"..." slowly, I concede; maybe he was right, "Well, I am assuming you already have a boat ready?"
"I told you I've got a boat or three!" eagerly, he stands up and bows slightly, offering his hand to me as if he were my servant, "What do you say, baby? We can take the canal from the Flooded District--that you know isn't my fault--and I'll row us down to Zephyr Bay."
I chuckle, pretending to mull it over in deep thought, "I am not sure, Lutzokh Lucio ... it is such an impromptu trip."
"I'll give you the Lucio Special~ on the house, exclusive services--tigers love it!"
A muffled laugh escapes me as he kisses me on the lips, prompting me to wrap my arms around him, "Then, Lushiyo, let me preserve my sculpture and I shall go with you."
As I'm rowing Ery and myself down to Zephyr Bay, I start thinking about what part of him I like looking at the most.
I mean, there's always his body; he's got a nice slender figure and I love being able to see his hips move when he's on top of me. He's got some well-defined shoulders, his eyes that can be both soft and fierce at the same time--if you really rile him up. But, if I really had to pick one thing, I think I always liked his hair.
His hair is a rebel and I love every bit of it; on one side of it, his bangs are very straight ad flow-y, but then on the other, it's a bit choppy and spikey. When the wind's blowing it flows really nicely and even though he's squinting because it's getting all over his eyes and mouth, it really makes him look so cute. Rowing the boat like this, give me a good angle of it too; just my body pulling back and forth allowing me to see that auburn mop from afar and close with each passing minute.
My hair may be the finest in all of Vesuvia, but Ery's hair? If there was a place above second but not quite first, that's where his hair would be. As we near Zephyr Bay, and the current picks up just a bit, I really feel tempted to reach out and just pet it--it's also really soft too.
"Lushiyo!" his urgent voice snaps me out of my daydream, "Watch out, there's some-"
I manage to glance over and spot the rocks before maneuvering the boat around them barely in time. Although, the boat does rock a little, messing up Ery's hair and causing his bangs to get all up in his face.
"Here," I stop rowing, leaning forward and reaching out my hand to brush his bangs off to the side. "Much easier to see, huh?"
He flashes me a grin, "Yes, I suppose you did that just so I can see you better?"
Ah, he's learned from the best! I wink at him, "Always, baby~ you know, you would look pretty cute with a pin."
"Well," Ery's eyes slowly narrow a bit in thought, "Provided it isn't too flamboyant, then yes I would not mind wearing one every now and then."
"Don't you worry," I beam at him, the familiar salty sea smell hitting my nose, "I'll pick one out that's exactly how you like it."
I row our boat out a fair distance from the shore into Zephyr Bay and open the case containing our swimming clothes; of course, I give Ery his trunks while I'm slipping on my briefs.
"Do you have the ... ointment?" Ery slowly stands up on the boat, trying not to rock it.
"Yes, for the sun."
"Ohh, sunscreen!" I smirk at him, "Yeah, I got it. But I might need some help putting some on~"
"You're a bit too eager for me to be putting..." I falter at the pronunciation of the word, "Sunscreen? Onto your back."
"Well, think in my shoes," Lucio comfortably lays on his end of the boat with his entire backside for me to see. "I'm showing off Mama gave me and I get to be touched by the man I love. 'Course I'm gonna be a little bit eager."
"Grom'shiya and you call me the 'tiger?'" I try not to look where his swimming "briefs" are barely covering ... it really emphasizes the curves of his hips and thighs so much to the point it's hard for me to think straight.
"No, no, Ery, you're the tiger," he chuckles, deliberately making a content hum as a pour some of the sunscreen onto his back. "I'm the lion~"
"A lion in heat?" I tease him, as I begin lathering his back.
"Hey, tigers can be in heat too!"
"Yes, but," I grin a bit as I trail some of the sunscreen towards the lower half of his back, gently rubbing the back of his thigh, "I am not the one exposing myself in such a manner?"
"Maybe not outside," I can see his smirk already. "Though it looks like you're coming out of your shell a bit, Ery."
"I am merely covering your body with the protective ointment so you do not receive 'sunburn' like last time."
"It wasn't that bad..."
"Of course, Lushiyo."
"Don't you 'of course' me!"
I finish covering the back of his body with the sunscreen and change myself into a sleeveless shirt and swimming trunks as he finishes applying the sunscreen onto himself. I stare down at the rippling, clear, deep-blue water seeing our reflections staring back at us.
"Lushiyo, what is your belief with mirrors?"
"Mmm, mirrors?" he spots me staring out into the water's edge and sits up, "Well, they're great for admiring myself! I could spend all day doing it, but that was before I met you."
"But is that all they are to you?" I reach out and gently touch the water, watching my reflection do the same as the ripples emit from the spot I tapped. "Nothing more?"
I think Lucio senses I am talking about something deeper as he slowly makes his way closer to me and answers, "Well, yeah? Is there ... should I be thinking more about them?"
"I think," I finally gaze at him, "I think they are portals to a different world."
I gesture to the water, "Maybe the version of ourselves we see here, could be looking back out at us right now."
He tilts his head a bit, "I think maybe you hang out with Az too much; he likes walking out of fountains from what you've told me."
I lightly splash some water at him, prompting Lucio to do the same back at me until we begin wrestling with each other. Unfortunately, we topped the boat over, falling into the water together.
miir - honorific used to refer to a teacher/mentor.
saen- most formal honorific used to refer to someone who's at the top of the social hierarchy; i.e. president, leader, shaman (in Ery's tribe), etc.
As Ery and I wrestle in the Zephyr Bay waters, I notice that he's still wearing that old pendant--the one he said his Shaman gave him before he left for Vesuvia with Az. I know Ery's always made those thorny-sage-trinkets, but despite the abundance of jewelry a Count like myself has, I don't really have something with as much memory behind it; a keepsake, you could say.
Both of our heads breach the surface of the water, with Ery gracefully taking his bangs and wringing them out a like a towel while I shake my head to dry off--what can I say, the poochies rub off on me a little. As we manage to re-orient the boat, I see Ery using his magic to retrieve the clay piece he'd been working on.
Immediately, I feel bad, "Ah, hey, I could have-"
"Do not worry, Lushiyo," he reassures me, "I put a hydration spell on it for a reason. I do not mean this with ill, but I knew to be a little prepared."
I hoist myself onto the boat first, then offering my hand to get Ery and sculpture back on board, too.
As I'm drying my hair with the towel, I ask, "Ery, do you know how to make a pendant, like the one you have from your tribe guy?"
"Ah, well," he fixes his hair up as it's become disheveled from the towel, "I do not think I can make an exact replication, as the kind of magic Ras'karr-saen used was more advanced than what I can muster right now."
"Um, well..." I clear my throat," Well, not that I settle for less or anything, but that's fine. I just want ... something to keep ... from you."
Ery seems a bit surprised at this, his eyes widening at me for a moment before he replies, "Ah, Lushiyo, that's awfully sweet of you! I did not think you'd appreciate little things like that."
I stretch my back, trying to play it cool and hide my embarrassment, "Well, I just ... it's because it's you, you know? It's not like I'd feel it from anyone else..."
A soft chuckle escapes Ery as he places his hand on my shoulder, "Lushiyo, I keep things people have given to me from the past too, even those who aren't my family like from Asra-miir or Pasha-kos. It is okay to want to have a gift like that, it doesn't make you weak or 'not cool.'"
"R-right, yeah," I stammer a bit, "Just not used to it being okay to be, uh, nice ... still; um, it just, uh, I'm not fully okay with the fuzzy stuff ... yet. But, right, it's okay; it's okay."
After we got back to the shop and washed up, I watch Ery make the pendant for me and realize something Mama shouted at me a lot on my birthday finally makes sense now.
It's never about the gift, Montie, but the person who gave it.
″zheijasirii” - It appears to be de-thorned bramble branches woven together by magic and dusted with sage incense. In Eridæus’ hometown, it’s made as a protective charm.
For someone who loves summer, I am always impressed at how resilient to the cold Lucio is. We have just finished showering from an impromptu trip to Zephyr Bay, and I am making a pendant for Lucio, per his request. Although I have dried myself, the Vesuvian sea breeze feels just a little chilling for me. Xaranya is a cold place, but I've always been one to shiver regardless. As I slowly thread and weave the brambles together, I try to think about the things that define Lucio.
While his brashness, immaturity, and his straightforwardness are definitely the most noticeable traits about him, I think the snow is very suiting for him too. I chuckle a little, looking at the shape of the zheijasirii--it seems I had unintentionally made it into the shape of a goat. I believe Lucio and the others refer to it as his 'fursona'; had he stayed a bit longer, he would have seen this for himself, properly. Lucio had been observing me, but I remember hearing Mercedes and Melchior barking just before he got up from the chair.
I make the final touches by coating the zheijasirii in a coat of krassi to ensure everything holds together; letting the warm aura of the cohesion spell emit from my palm. It is a necessary spell, particularly for somone like Lucio. As a loud thwunk echoes downstairs from Lucio and the dog's playing and I close my eyes. I think about the seasonly hailstorms of Xaranya, muttering the chant of a basic freezing spell I'd been taught during medic training. A slight shiver passes through my body, prompting me to open my eyes again.
It is a success, the bramble-woven goat was now encased in a transparent, chilled casing of ice. A faint blue sheen reflects off its surface as I tilt in various positions under the light.
"Lushiyo!" I call as loud as I can, "It's finished!"
I hear the thundering of his footsteps going up the stairs as I thread the hemp through hole I'd made inside the goat and seal the ends with a light spell.
"You finished it?" Lucio eagerly asks as he enters into the room, peering over my shoulder, "Ooh it looks so pretty!"
I turn around, gently holding the pendant by its hemp and gesture for him to tilt his head down, "Gentle?"
"Promise!" he lowers his head, his shoulders shifting in excitement, "I won't break it, ever!"
I gently slip the pendant over him, "Now, be careful, Lucio, because-"
"AHH, IT'S COLD!" he immediately draws his hand back upon briefly holding the goat.
"...It is cold." I finish with what started as a sigh but turned into a content laugh.
"Why's it so cold, Ery?"
"It fits you," I pause, "...Even if you don't live in the cold anymore, it is still part of who you are."
Lucio stares deeply at the pendant before slowly nodding his head, "Thanks, Ery ... I mean it. I'll never lose it."
The definition of vinegar used here was the one meaning "spirit/vim/etc."
"Lutzokh Lucio, kainko vienexar; ase tyogr næ zyafævat' eokh~" - Xaranian sentence, translates roughly to "Lutzokh Lucio, you are very energetic; this tiger can not capture you." "eokh" is an honorific used to someone you are dating, it denotes informality and intimacy. "Lutzokh Lucio," is a patronymic address to Lucio; it can imply intimacy but also formality, depending on the situation.
"What did he just say I have?!"
After getting used to wearing the pendant, Ery and I decided to go on a nightly stroll. Just for the heck of it, some guy challenged me to a spar in the Coliseum so I accepted it--and I won of course.
Naturally, he was bowing and praising me for my amazing combat skills, but then things got weird because then the random street-er says, "You got a lotta vinegar left in you, Count! Good show ya bastard!"
I could only open my mouth for one second before the weirdo tossed a shiny coin at me--I got distracted because it was one of the old coins that had my face printed on it--and left. Ery, on the other hand, didn't even seem bothered? In fact, he just seemed confused at me, "Lushiyo, what do you mean?"
"Ery," I make grand, gesticulate hand motions at him, "He said I was full of vinegar! You know, the cooking stuff? The sour stuff? The stuff that smells like El Brute's feet on a-"
"Ahh, so that's is what it means in Common?" he taps his chin in thought as we walk around the defunct arena, "We do not use it for that -- well, it sounds like 'vienexar.' Vienexar is used to describe someone who..."
A thinking hum escapes him as he starts looking at me, "It describes you well, I think. It is, er ... like, it is used to describe someone who has ... spirit. They have lots of energy and are 'spicy,' as you say."
"Wait that's not a compliment at all; he was assuming I'm old and washed up!"
Ery's shoulders shook with laughter as he gently grabbed my arms and had me face him, "Then, maybe I'll give you the compliment that doesn't do that?"
I'm already interested, "Dare you to say it in Xaranian~"
Without batting an eye, Ery grins, "Lutzokh Lucio, kainko vienexar; ase tyogr næ zyafævat' eokh~"
I understood nothing but that sexy flicker of dominance in his eyes, "Okay, maybe being called a vinegar doesn't sound that bad--if I just imagine your face every time."
He laughs, his grin reaching from ear to ear as I wrap my arms around his waist and carry him off his feet.
"See, you must have lots of vinegar to carry me like this."
"Yeah," I kiss him on his lips, "You know, I also have some vinegar for something else~"
"Something not at home?"
"Yeah, for 'cooking.'"
Ery glances around the Coliseum before murmuring, "Then, we should head home?"
"Hold tight, baby," I smirk at him before setting towards one of the many exits, "You're getting a double ride from me tonight~"
Lucio, truly, is like a white rose; many thorns and brambles caked in the pricking of those who’ve plucked at its thorns, but the velvety feel of its bloom is something that doesn’t need the eyes of Asra-miir and the others. The constant bravado on his face melts away, and the rosy flush on his cheeks along with the soft hums and grunts leaving him show a softness long hidden.
We are both a pair of budded roses, only blossoming when the ebb and flow of magic and nature converge into one. We are both roses of white, grown on a branch that split off from the other; one that had lost its soul, but reborn again through the will of The Arcana. The lotion trails down his legs as he slowly ushers himself down onto the toy, kissing me and biting me as he does so. The bites he leaves on my skin are painful but temporary, as I lock my arms around his waist before pressing my lips onto his pec and bite down. A muffled hum escapes him and it continues as I slowly move my hips, entering into him below.
He kisses me on the lips, the feeling of his lips sucking on my tongue as I continue to move, brewing inside me a drowning pleasure; enough to have me close my eyes to feel more of the sensation throughout the body.
“Ery...” he whispers into my ear after leaving a mark on my chest. “Go faster...”
″Grom’shiya,” I gasp a little as he licks my ear before kissing it, “You’ve become that accustomed to my shape, Lushiyo?”
He draws his head back, shuddering as another muffled him of pleasure escapes him, “I’ve loved feeling you, Ery...”
“Is it really ‘me’ that you’d like to move faster, Lushiyo?” I stop moving, trailing my hands towards his hips and rubbing them, “Or is there something else you desire?”
He whines a little, “You’re being so meaann Ery...”
“But you love ‘giving me a ride,’ yes? You did say I was going to have a ‘double ride’ tonight.”
Lucio drew a quick breath as he pins down my arms, “I told you to do it.”
“That you have,” I smile. “But don’t you have more fun moving your hips onto me?”
“But I like ... want ... you...”
“But you like looking down on me, too.”
″Lushiyo~” I kiss neck and leave a deep, hard bite. “Do you hear yourself? Do you hear us? We’re both in bloom.”
He doesn’t make a reply, only making desperate noises as I refuse to indulge him. Finally, as he goes in for another kiss, I move my hips again -- the shocked expression on his face drives me on more.
I wrap my arms aroud his back as he continues to leave his marks all over me. Our graden of paradise, our vines tangling together tighter and tighter.
Ery and I really went at it last night; it was probably past midnight by the time we both crashed and I feel sore as hell by the time I’m awake. I fell asleep spooning him, and it looks like he’s still knocked out from everything too. Feeling a bit comfortable, despite the fact my lower half was screaming at me that I wasn’t as young as I used to be -- also that streeter can shove off, calling me old by saying I still got vinegar ... ugh.
So, even though this shop is Az's and all, I've been thinking about fences. See, I kinda ... Ery's thing about "just because it's not big doesn't mean it can't be grand," has been sinking in the ol' noggin. I've been thinking maybe we could make a little cabin place for us out in the Dark Forest and build a fence around it so people know it's our place. That, and we can look like a cute country couple--like in the news! Okay, but we can't go totally rural -- I want electricity, good running water, and I want my golden bathtub in there; no way am I giving it up.
I see Ery stir a bit in his sleep, and, 'cause I can't help myself, I kiss him on the forehead. That's one of his sensitive spots and it's a surefire way to wake him up.
"...L'shiyo?" comes the drowsy slur.
"Hey, Ery~" I whisper into his ear before kissing it, "I got another cool idea."
"Mmf, no more piercings..."
"Nooo, not that! But don't tempt though."
"Okay, okay--a fence! I wanna build a fence together."
"Pohandgee, I want to do it with you."
His hand limply raises up and plops atop my hair, petting me, "....didn't 'se ri'ht."
"Eryyy, please? I ... do have a bigger reason, but I wanna surprise you. For now, I just wanna build a fence together with you."
Ery's pair of silver eyes shine just a little as he slowly blinks his eyes awake, "Well, the old backyward fence here could use a rework, I'm sure."
God, he's so cute...
"Ery, your voice sounds so adorable when you're waking up."
"Xae, but Lushiyo, you need to get dressed."
"Sure," I grin, "But I require a kiss as payment~"
After a few minutes of us getting dressed, we finally hunted down Az at the bru--I mean, Teriel's, hut.
"Muriel." Ery corrects me. "Muriel, Lushiyo."
"Don't bother," brute-boy sighs, "It'll be ages before he gets it."
"Hey!" I poke his chest in protest, "I was closer this time!"
Az seems wary of my request as always before he shakes his head at Ery, "Yes, I'll let you two work on the fence."
He directs his attention at me, his eyes narrowing, "Don't mess up the style of the shop, Lucio."
"No problem, buddy, ol' pal! I won't even think about it!" I give him the finger guns, "You won't regret it!"
"I hope not."
I think I saw genuine surprise on Asra-miir’s face for the first time, in a long time, the moment he came back to the shop with Muriel-kos. Lucio and I ended up compromising on using a set of rowan-wood pickets, posts, and top rails with cans of gold paint to cover them with. Lucio was very intent on having the fence be gold, but I was lucky he backed down when I finally drew the reason for his fence building out of him.
It was sweet to know that he wanted to build a fence together with me as practice for fence building in a place we could live in together for the future. However, I needed to remind him that while he gets excited about what he wants and likes, mine need to be included if this is “our” fence--hence the fence set being bought. After walking back to the Magic Shop, we began tearing down the old fence and rebuilt the new one with the newly bought pieces of wood. Finally, after hours of intensive labor, Lucio and I sat outside the shop’s front entrance; taking a well-earned rest.
It was then Asra-miir and Muriel-kos showed up; their eyes widen in surprise at the quaint job we’d made on the new fence. Immediately, Asra is first to take a look at Lucio, “I never thought you’d have it in you to not mess up anything...”
He clicks his tongue and winks, “I’m full of surprises, Az~”
Muriel-kos only remains silent, nodding his head in agreement. The white-haired magician looked over to Muriel, “Well, it would seem a bet is a bet. Do you mind making sure it doesn’t break while I summon it?”
The former gladiator gave the violet-eyed man a curt nod; Asra-miir then began chanting spells in a language I’d never heard him speak before as he a glowing ball of light gradually increased in size and brightness. When it then vanished out of existence, a tired Asra-miir was leaning agasint Muriel-kos while I was very confused at the object in front of me.
It was made of metal, perhaps copper or brass, and it looked like it had refined wheels, more than what I’ve seen from the occasional carriages in Vesuvia. There were a plethora of accessories littered along the frames and cylinders I did not recognize, but given the fact the whole thing was gold with varying rubies on it, I’m sure Lucio was eating it up.
The loudest squeal of excitement burst out of Lucio’s lungs as he gave Asra-miir and Muriel-kos multiple, suffocating hugs, “AZ YOU DIDN’T!”
“A bet is a bet...” Asra-miir seems to wince at the hugs he’s being given.
Meanwhile, I approach the side of the vehicle, “So, Lushiyo, what is this?”
Immediately, Lucio rushes over to the vehicle, opening the back compartment and pulling out two headwear for us; he takes the seat in front and gestures, “It’s a motorcycle. Get on, baby! We’ve got streets to burn!”
You know what’s the greatest feeling in the world? The wind blowing in your hair as you zip around about the tiny streets, the smell of rubber grinding on the stones, and the vibrating rumbling that surges throughout your body ... it’s just so easy to forget everything but the blurring of houses, shops, and canals whizzing by when you’re on a motorcycle.
I feel something tightening around my waist as I rev the engine and round a tight corner. Is it just adrenaline kicking in? Who knows, I feel too great to even process it. For a brief moment, I see someone shouting at me, but I don’t really hear them as I pass by, so hard to say. But, it’s not like I’m hitting anyone or anything, so it’s fine.
I glance over at the gas tank gauge, it’s dimming in its glow, so I’m guessing I’m gonna have to head back and get Az to refill it--maybe Ery. Oh yeah, even though Ery is riding with me on this thing, I just realized I hadn’t checked up to see how he’s doing too. I glance over my shoulder and--oh. Um, I think Ery looks terrified? Wait, he’s saying something...
“GAH!” I shout back at him, startled, “Ery, wha-”
“STOP MOVING, IT’S TOO FAST!”
“Uh, Ery, that sounds like a-”
″LUTZOKH LUCIO MONTAGESSON!”
Immediately, I find a spot near the docks and floor the handle brakes. The moment I park the bike and prop the kick stand, Ery stumbles off; his legs are trembling as he holds onto me before giving me a hard shove.
“How could you ignore me like that?!” his voice is raised and he looks like he’s on the verge of crying, “I was screaming at you to slow down, begging you! But you kept going -- could you truly not hear me?”
“I’m...” I croak, shakily hugging him, “I’m sorry, Ery, it was just a big oopsie--I just ... I was so excited and you said, ‘okay,’ to ride with me and the feeling of going fast just ... I really blanked out.”
Ery trembles a bit as he muffles the rest of his frightened sobs into my chest, ”...Please, try to remember I’m here, too.”
“No, I...” I slowly reach out my hand and pet his hair, “It was just a bad oopsie, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again, I promise.”
We’re standing there in silence for what feels like forever before Ery manages to speak again, ”...Okay. I would not mind another ride, but please do not go so fast.”
I nod, kissing him on the forehead, “You got it, Ery.”
We hop back on and I cruise through all the spots of Vesuvia before we’re back at the Magic Shop again. Not as thrilling as going fast, but it still felt nice to see everything and feel Ery feeling content with me. Once I refill it, I’m definitely riding this bad boy again soon.