Tsssssssss. Standing in front of the government building of the border City, Jack held a rocket shaped glass bottle to his lips, a bubbly brown liquid being poured down his gullet. As he lowered the bottle from his lips, he glanced over towards his sister and the Battle Maid, before turning his head to look at the door. They had been in there for a short while already, getting their payment for a job well done.
After about fifteen or so minutes, they calm walking out. Big smiles on Termite, Goltron and Imina's faces. Arche on the other hand seemed to be cradling the sack of coins in her hand.
He could see the coins which had been given to her hadn't been enough. Pursing his lips slightly, he tilted his head to the side slightly. "Everyone get their rewards?" Jack asked with a brow raised.
"Yeah, we got it good this time." Termite said with a light nod, tucking the small sack into his belt.
Imina smiled as a response, before everyone looked to Goltron.
"I'm going to be donating most of it to the orphanages… Since I'm not able to heal people without having them pay a fee. For only if this was a God fearing nation..." The high priest let out a sigh as he looked at the little brown sack in his hand.
"Can't they pay with Goods and Services rendered, rather than money alone?" Jack asked curiously as he knew bartering was still common place in a medieval society, even when it was run by a bureaucratic party of sorts.
Goltron raised a brow at this, the man was talking about he'd choose to be paid over money. It didn't sound all that much different. "What'd you mean?"
Jack simply traced over his attire, before looking at his face. "You're a worker, you're not held to the same rules as Adventurers, correct? You want to heal people for free, find a loop hole around whatever it stopping you from doing so.."
Goltron blinked at this, placing a thoughtful thumb against his jaw.
"If they're able, have them dance for you. Sing for you if they not have legs. And if they can't do either, have them write a story or a poem. Or have them sign a waiver that you're testing various different healing techniques on them. I don't know the laws as of yet, but there are many ways that get around a law that restricts one's use of power..." Jack advised before turning his eyes to Arche who was looking at him curiously.
He had touched her behind earlier to throw her into the wagon and his sister had acted as a complete brat up until now. She just stared through him for a few moments before looking off towards the North East, the direction of the Capital City of Arwinter.
"Is it time to go, Jack-oniisama?" Shizu her eyes on the bottle in his hand, eying the carbonated drink.
His eyes shifted up and down over the girl for a few moments before holding the half drank bottle over to her. Which she quickly snatched and started drinking it avidly. He just stood there and watched her for a few seconds. The other members of the group also casting their gaze on the woman who was consuming the liquid that only the three from Nazarick would be able to identify.
"What is that? Bubbly sewage water?"
"Cola," Jack responded as Shizu burped, turning his attention over towards Arche again.
"It's a beverage from our home nation," Jack casually leaned on the wall near the door. "It's water and other ingredients infused with carbon via hanging it over a beer vat."
"So its brewed..." Goltron stared at it for a few moments before looking over at Jack, "Is it alcoholic?"
"No, not at all. If anything it has a high concentration of sugar in it, so it's super sweet."
Goltron grinned at the prospect of a sweet drink, that was bubbly, and wasn't alcoholic. He was susceptible to alcohol poisoning, so he didn't drink it, even on occasion. However he had an extreme sweet tooth.
"Perhaps when we're settled in Arwintar, My sister can show you how to make carbonated beverages."
Eve giggled wildly at Jack's proposition, something she could do with her production skills. It made her excited to teach or show someone else a what she could do, even if it was someone she had just become acquainted with.
Termite and Imina looked at one another before turning their attention back to Jack. "Is there anything you can show us while you're at it?" He'd joke, though it was really just a partial joke. He was actually curious if there was anything that their new found member would teach them.
Jack shrugged softly, "I'll have to look into that." He wasn't a ranger and he didn't necessarily see their interests right off the bat. Goltron was easy to read, he was a nice person who wore his personality.
Termite was a man of charm and easy going. He liked money, or at least saving it. He had a certain allure to him which Jack could definitely sense. Imina though, she seemed to be a kind individual with a caring heart. He could tell from earlier that she seemed almost familial with Arche, like an older sister figure. He could also tell the two of them were close, especially when they had been in the wagon.
Whilst they appeared somewhat professional, they had held hands. Leaned into one another. Even snuck a peck when they thought no one was looking.
Jack didn't mind public displays of affection, if anything he enjoyed it. If he had a girlfriend or a significant other, he wouldn't really hide it from others all that much.
The three of them would begin to walk away from the building. Jack was between Eve and Shizu as they trailed along behind the four other workers.
His eyes remained on the back of the Blonde.
Eve was quick to tell the look in Jack's eyes. He was her brother, so she could see the interest. The girl had talent, she was short and slender. On top of that, she knew her brother wouldn't actively pursue her, not yet at least. He took his time to build relationships, or at least waited for some incentive.
In a way he could blackmail her into it, she wanted to learn magic from him, he could perhaps make a deal. Training for courtship. Yet, she was beginning to wonder, would that be a real bond, or just one of convenience? Eve stared at her brother, whilst Shizu kept close to his side.
Jack was thinking to himself, he had thought the same thing earlier, but he also doubted the authenticity of a relationship built off of that due to her desperation. Unlike all the bright faces that walked by, hers was hiding her hardships, she didn't see a bright future ahead of herself. Despite that though, the determination to destiny, to change fate, was almost to the extreme, whilst her loyalties to her friends also seemed to be in high regard.
"Hm..." His head turned to the side slightly as he looked down to his sister, noting her expression and how her eyes gestured towards Arche. It was as if she was trying to egg him on, and he was quick to find that she actually was as she mouthed 'Do it.'
Rolling his jaw, he couldn't help but smile a bit before looking forward. "Are we ready to go to Arwintar, or are we doing something here first?"
Termite glanced over his shoulder, "You're able to open a portal again, just like that?" He had a rather in awe look on his face.
"Yes, it would be easy..." Much like Momonga, his Mana was well above the normal limit of any mortal human being. "I'm a bit of a monster, after all."
Arche looked over at him when he referred to himself as a Monster. She had to admit, from what she saw before he put the ring on, he was right. Though him saying he was a monster felt a little funny, and it made her shiver slightly. Was it the fact that he had self-awareness to that point, or was it just a reference to his power?
"Are you even human?" Arche found herself saying in a blatant manner with the expression of a lifeless doll. Her blue eyes almost reflected his face in them, but she didn't appear to judge him.
"Would you like to guess?" Jack asked as the group formed a half-circle as they stood to the side of the stone laid road. "I'll give you a hint."
Arche nodded slowly, "Alright."
Imina, Goltron and Termite all kept their attentions on Arche and Jack anxiously. If he wasn't human, what could he possibly be? And was he going to make a game out of this!?
"Six wings pure as snow, I may lay waste to the land, I of benevolent death. What am I?"
Goltron's eye twitched hearing part of the riddle which he had referred to himself as Benevolent Death. He had said that his weapon was a weapon that belonged to the Angel of Death. Was he calling himself an Angel? Six wings… A Seraph?
Arche stared through him for a moment, a bead of sweat forming on the side of her face which was perfectly bordered by her short hair. It wasn't that she was having a hard time coming up with the answer, it was just something she was having a hard time believing.
Both Imina and Termite were also both staring at him. They didn't believe necessarily that he was an angel, but he was definitely a powerful entity if he weren't human.
"You're pulling our leg right?" Termite spoke up, one eye widened as he kept his sights on him.
Jack's eyes surfed over the other three before resting back on Arche, "Until it comes off."
Termite and the others seemed to sigh in relief accompanied by a bout of suppressed laughter. They had nothing against angels, but if he were an Angel, it meant that he was a powerful being capable of mass destruction. While angels were summonable beings, a sentient one could be a threat to generally anyone, as despite their positive karma… They were capable of destroying the land just like any of the Evil Deites from two hundred years ago. That and he may as well be as strong as the Seventh Tier Angel believed to have been in the hands of the Slane Theocracy, if not stronger.
Arche however was the only one looking at him seriously still.
With his spear in his hand, he would cast another 『Gate』which would appear in front of the group, Jack smiled faintly with a hand gesturing forward.
Eve, Shizu and the other three went into the portal. However as Jack hadn't gone through it remained there without vanishing.
Arche frowned immediately, "Are you really an Angel?"
"If I lie about my name, my existence will end." Jack stated as she tried to assure herself of the answer which had been cooking in the back of her mind. "So either I'm an angel, or I'm a fiendish demon."
She slowly nodded and her soft lips lost their expression, turning her head to the side to the side and looking to the ground. "Please… Don't play games with us." Her met his without moving her head.
"Yes, I'm an Angel." Jack was acting all nonchalant as he walked over and placed a hand on her shoulder. "And truth be told, I wasn't necessarily hiding it either."
Arche's shoulders drooped as she finally tiled her head up to look at him completely, he wasn't lying. If he was truly hiding it, he wouldn't have flown earlier with his pair of wings in plain view. Even though at first glance one could assume he was a winged human.
"Was touching my butt an accident?"
Jack wasn't expecting her to ask this question all of a sudden, "No?" While his answer seemed immediate, it was clear he had thought about it before speaking.
"So you touched my butt on purpose…?" Despite physical self giving the impression of a lifeless doll, a pink tinge started to form on her cheeks, clearly she was embarrassed.
"Yes?" Jack's eyes just rested on her blankly, his reply sounded like a question more than an answer.
Arche just held this deadpan expression on her face hearing his tone of voice whilst he awkwardly glanced off to the side. It didn't look as if he was socially weak, it was more like the reaction of a person that did something wrong and got caught red handed.
"Why did you accept my sisters, when I suddenly asked if they could stay with at your place...?"
While it felt like an inquisition, Jack believed they were reasonable questions. Ones which he'd expect later on from the other members of the group the more they opened up to him.
"Tell me about your home life that made you want to take your younger sisters away from your parents?" Jack was a brother, an older brother. Responsibility had once been in his hands and he knows what it feels like to worry about the well being of a family member younger than himself.
Arche stared through him, she didn't understand what he gained, instead he asked a question to answer her. It was as if he cared, which in a sense he did, he could relate to her. "Even though we lost our status, my mother and father still spend money as if they have an unlimited supply..."
"So they're indebted… And if they can't pay it back… They might end up selling their children in order to continue their life style?" Jack rolled his eyes as he figured this, it wasn't abnormal even in modern times when a delusional rich person loses everything and tries to keep appearances by buying things they cannot afford.
Arche pinched the bridge of her nose. This guy, who claims to be an angel, completely understood her. However, seeing his eyes, he didn't look down on her though he was in the literal sense due to his height.
"Do your teammates know about it?"
Arche shook her head, at the moment they didn't know. They were already worried for her as it was, if they knew how would they see her then? How much would they pity her?
"Then I won't say anything to them," Jack said with a light smile, "As long as you court me."
Arche slowly nodded her head before pausing, "Wait... What?!" She almost jumped back, her arms tense at her sides, as she became aware of what she had just nonverbally agreed to.
"Hm.. I wonder how this 'student-teacher' relationship is going to be like," Jack gave a short suppressed laugh which he trapped in his throat. He'd hold out a hand for hers.
"Th-that's not fair." Arche farrowed her brows, glaring up at him as she hesitantly placed her dainty hard leather glove covered hand into his. "Wait… Student-teacher?" She found herself blinking in surprise, her heart was beating out of her chest. How much did she just get handed to her!?
"I considered it," Jack shrugged lightly with a small smirk across his lips.