The potion slides down Esmeralda’s throat, and its soothing magic mixed with its cooling sensation was just what she needed on this hot day. Aside from a way to forget that she just made a pact with one of her mentors to train spoiled rich kid Paladin or kill him in three months. God’s Mercy she was in over her head.
The Drow is more than a little startled when he regains consciousness, and there is a colossal Orc standing over him with an ax bigger than him. Crawling backward as fast as he can, he only recovers himself when he sees Esmeralda a few feet behind him.
“You need to heal the others,” Yan says, not making the situation better with his tone. The Drow is quick to agree and put some space between himself and Yan. Yan turns to Esmeralda, and his face can’t decide whether he is proud of her or pissed – The latter seems to be winning at the moment.
“I’m going to tell Yabe about this,” Yan says, continuing in Orcish.
“I would expect nothing less Lord Yan.”
“He will be proud of you.”
“How, I nearly got my team killed?”
“Because you couldn’t rely on your team. They are not strong enough to complete S-rank missions.” Esmeralda gasps.
“That was an S-rank monster!”
“A part of it. They put a job up for A’s and B’s to clear the smaller monsters and for an S to clear the cave. I’m likely to find more inside.”
“Let me come with you.”
“You’re in no shape to come with me. And you have a lot of work ahead of you.” Yan says, spitting on the ground as if the very thought of the Human being alive disgusted him.
“At least take someone else with you.”
“Andre is meeting me there. I was just getting an early start to do some fishing when I heard the beast.” Esmeralda relaxed a little knowing another S-rank would be with him.
“I hear I have you to thank for us being alive,” The Elf says, keeping a safe distance from Yan but wanting to show respect. “Zingakuthanda izinyanya,” He says in Elvish, with a fist over his heart. Yan nor I can speak Elvish, but we know respect when we see it. Placing his fist and hand together, Yan bows to the Elf.
“Why did you save me?” The Human says, his voice and hand shaky and struggling to adjust to the last five minutes. Esmeralda steadies his hand and helps him sheathe his sword.
“Because I believe that you can be a mighty paladin. With the proper training.
“Do you mean that?”
“Of course…,” Esmeralda is cut off by the Vampire.
“You have to be kidding me! Him?” The Vampire flies over to Esmeralda. Her tone is the most hurt that Esmeralda has heard before, and her eyes match this. Glistening just before tears, she looks on at Esmeralda with disbelief.
“Elisa Deschamps,” The Vampire says.
“Elisa Deschamps, I only did it to save his life. Everything just happened so fast.”
“I understand,” Elisa says, her words sounding sincere.
“As an A-rank bounty hunter, I can take on four apprentices,” Esmeralda says, placing her hand on Elisa’s shoulder. “And I would be honored if you would be one of them.” Esmeralda thought that would stop the tears, but it only made more of them. Her face beamed with happiness, and tears flowed as she lunged at Esmeralda, hugging her as tight as she could. Her overwhelming praise flowing just as much as her tears.
“Yes, yes, a million times yes,” Elisa says, jumping up and down. When Esmeralda winces, she backs off and gets worried. Esmeralda waves it off and tells her that she would be as good as new after some well-deserved rest.
“Are you sure my magic couldn’t help, Boss?” The Drow says, walking up.
“There is no way you are going to take on the child and expect to make anything of him without a dedicated healer. As you just took on Elisa here, I was near certain you would take me on as well. My name is Matthiew Cox if you would have me. If not, it was…,” The Drow says, but Esmeralda starts before he finishes.
“No, no, I would love to have you. Thank you so much, Matthiew,” Esmeralda says and bows.
“Please just call me Matt. I think you’ve earned that right.” He says, bowing back.
“I didn’t get a bow,” Elisa says.
“That’s because you were squeezing the dear life out of her before she could offer.”
“Oh, yeah,” Elisa says, putting a finger on her chin. They all laugh a little.
“Elf!” Esmeralda calls over.
“I’m taking this one,” Yan says. Esmeralda notices that the Elf is standing next to him. “He trained with my tribe and shows great promise. You’ll have to find another to complete your team.”
“Yes, Yan-sama. The three should be enough.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to round us out with another warrior type,” Matt advises.
“We’ll worry about that later. Right now, I need to get home and rest after I get all of your contact information.” Esmeralda states.
“You did expend a lot of your Power. Do you need a lift?” Matt offers and complies with her command. The Human sends his info as well, give her a text with his name. Cesar Herrera.
“That would be nice.”
“Ride with me Esmeralda,” Elisa protest. “He’s not a fan of yours like I am.” Elisa’s eyes burn with passion. Esmeralda and Matt turn to each other, and in that look, it was understood, let her win this one.
“Fair enough, just know if you ever need a ride, I have one.”
“Sure, thank you, Matt.”
“Don’t mention it,” Matt says, waving and walking away. Elisa takes this time to loop her arm into Esmeralda’s and walk with her.
“You have no idea how much this means to me.” Elisa starts
“I have somewhat of a feeling. I obsessed over my Senpai. So much so that his wife thought that he was having an affair.”
“Really?” Elisa’s eyes brighten with hopes of tales of drama.
“Yes, I had to learn to keep my distance from the man I thought was the coolest in the whole world for a while. But then we got into a war, and then I was glued to his side.”
“Tell me everything!” Elisa shrills.
Esmeralda is delighted with how the day ended. She has never had a girlfriend before, but she was on board with hanging out with Elisa any time. So, after leaving the job, they hit up a Lycan steakhouse and had a lovely meal. Esmeralda was surprised to find out that Elisa also drunk Lycan beer. Although her reason was she consumed all alcohol that tasted good, it was nice to have someone who knew what she was talking about when she ordered it.
After their dinner, they went to the comic store and picked up a few Mangas. Though Elisa’s whole world wasn’t Lycan culture like Esmeralda’s was, they still shared a love of Manga and Anime. After they talked and shopped for a while, Elisa finally took her home. She wanted to keep the party going, but Esmeralda told her that she had ‘other plans. It only took about three times before she got the hint.
“I hope you have a good and long night,” Elisa giggles dropping Esmeralda off at her apartment.
“That would be the plan,” Esmeralda doesn’t even hide her intent behind that smile.
“We should hang out more, like outside of training and whatnot.”
“We will go over all of that tomorrow.”
“Okay, bye, Ezzy.”
“Bye, Elisa,” Esmeralda says, waving as she walks away from the car. She was happy with her Girl time with a new friend, but she needed time with Ben right now. She shoots Ben a text and makes her way into her apartment.
Once inside, she presses the button near the collar of her armor, scanning her thumb so that it will release her armor. The armor falls off, and once she steps out, it folds into a neat square. By the Gods, was she happy that she spent the extra money for this feature.
Walking through the kitchen in her under armor, she turns the oven on and tosses a frozen pizza in. She would need a snack after Ben arrives. Her body gets hot at just the thought. With that done, she goes to her room and gathers things for a shower. Not only did she need it after the day she’s had, but no doubt Ben wouldn’t want to touch her if she didn’t. Sweat and bile are horrible on their own, but mix the two together, and it’s even worse. Placing her speaker on the sink top and turning on her tunes, the sound of running water was a godsend.
Testing the water before jumping in, she approves and is amazingly relieved to feel the hot water meld away her pain. She is quick in the shower but still takes time to bust out a few dance moves to the groove of her Anime shower playlist. Next, she gives her hair a quick scrub, and once the shampoo and conditioner have done their job, she flips the water off and steps out onto the mat.
While grabbing her towels, she can see that Ben has responded to her text. Giddy with excitement, she quickly picks up the phone and instinctively types that she can’t wait to see him, but before she hits send, she reads the text that he sent to her, and her mouth drops. Taking a seat on the toilet lid, this was the last thing she thought he would send her.