"Branwen, you look… older,”
Mythal commented, glancing back over his shoulder as the door shut behind him. His eyes scanned the small living area as they turned back to meet the older man’s. It was rather homely, if a bit on the mundane side. The furniture was meager at best, the lanterns on the walls were dusty and dim and the main source of true light was the fireplace. Even it was smaller than most; it was only able to fit a log and a half in its grill. Overall, it wasn’t a place many would suspect to find a major from the Rune Knights.
“So do you. It’s been… why, almost thirty years now,” Major Branwen said with a smile."Just about,”
came the simple response, his tone neutral. He took a couple of steps forward, trying to glance around the staircase on the right wall. There seemed to be a small hallway leading further into the house, perhaps the kitchen and other similar rooms. Everything seemed in order with a normal house setting but there he couldn’t help but feel restless. Something was missing. "Don’t want your guards in here with you?”
“I told them to go and get some rest in their own rooms. The people of this village offered three of their houses to myself and my people, despite my insistence that we’re more than content with our tents. But this mess about an assassination plot has them on edge. They refuse to budge from their posts until we’re out of this village. I’ve gotten more threats to my life than any one person should
get in their lifetime and none have stuck. Yet they persist so…” Branwen shrugged. Then he rose to his feet, groaning a bit as he did so. He stretched his arms out to the side to ease the ache from their long travels. “You want something to drink? I’m sure I have some tea or coffee in the kitchen…”"Villagers lettin’ you borrow their drinks and food too?”
Mythal asked back at him, his tone a bit sharper than he meant to make it.
But the major simply laughed it off. “Apparently we are to treat these places as our own homes. I’ve already left a good sum of jewel on the kitchen cabinet to pay for their hospitality. They’ve been far more generous than they needed to be,” he explained, walking towards the hallway. “So… anything?”"Beer, if they have it,”
Mythal said with a shrug, his gaze not meeting the older man’s.
That caused Branwen to chuckle again. “Last time I saw you, you could barely handle your juice. Now look at you,” he said, stopping to look back at Mythal. He actually spent a moment looking at him from top to bottom. “I know it’s been a long time and I’m sure you spent time burying it but… I am sorry about what happened to Gren—“"Save it,”
the God Slayer was quick to cut him off, slowly walking past the couch and stopping near the fireplace. It seemed his words were enough to halt the older man, who deflated a bit and turned towards the hallway once more. Before he could even stop it, words came flying out of his mouth. "Sorry. I mean… it’s not somethin’ I like talkin’ about. I’ve tried to shove all that stuff in my own little lockbox and forget about it.”
He couldn’t even help himself.
Branwen stopped, his back to the younger man. “He was great Rune Knight… but he was a better man. I’ve lost many friends in my time but his… it was the most painful. Losing you both was a hardship I never truly got over.” He turned back to look at Mythal, his hardened face having lost its luster and sagging with sadness. Mythal felt something tremble inside and he fought back, suppressing it as best he could. “I am truly relieved to see you alive, Mythal. And I’d love for you to tell me about the life you’ve lived so far.”"I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
The God Slayer was quick to cut him off but there was no harshness in his voice. In fact, it was the most neutral he had sounded in a long time. It was like he was teetering on an emotional breakdown. "You were a part of my life, yeah, when I was younger. And I took this job because I know Gren… dad, would want me to. But I was a child when you last saw me; I’m an entirely different person now. And not all of that is good,”
he raised his head up on the last sentence, meeting Branwen’s gaze. "And I guess a… part of me wanted you to know I was alive too. I’m not lookin’ for some kind of replacement father figure but… you were good to me for a time. I at least owed you somethin’.”
He spoke slowly, his voice rife with trembling pain and honesty. He’d fought against feeling
for such a long time that letting even a small bit out had nearly fractured his entire emotional wall.
And Branwen seemed to understand that. He didn’t say anything at first, his gaze lingering on the younger man’s as if searching for something. Then a soft smile came upon his face and he closed his eyes, nodding gently. “I understand. But I want you also to know that I don’t want to replace Gren or anyone in your life. You’re a man now – a wizard of Fairy Tail, which is quite amusing I might add. I just want you to know that if you need anything, I’m willing to help out to the best of my abilities. Consider it my personal payment for your taking this job and… your willingness to step out of the dark and show me you were alive.”
There was a long moment of silence between the two of them, as each one of them wrestled with varying emotions. Finally Mythal sighed and nodded. "A’ight, that’s fair. Now.”
And with surprising speed, he jabbed his right arm out seemingly into the thin air above the fireplace. Yet as it reached full extension, the sound of it hitting something cracked through the air, followed immediately by a man suddenly falling to the ground in front of the fire, instantly knocked out.
Branwen looked utterly shocked. “How...?”"I could smell him the minute I got in here. I just had to follow his scent to actually find him out. Must be a camouflage type magic that lets him blend in with things. Clever,”
the God Slayer said with a shrug, nudging the unconscious man with his foot. "Might wanna let the guards know that he’s in here. I’m sure they’ll have questions.”
Branwen looked between Mythal and the would-be assassin for a brief moment before chuckling and shaking his head. “Well then. No wonder you’re the newest Rising Star,” he said with a glimmer of pride.
Mythal scoffed at the comment, not really paying attention to its meaning. But it only took him a second to question it, his brow furrowing. "Wait… what did you say?”
|River Village||Fairy Tail|