Their moment interrupted.
The smell of iron blood, the sound of crushing bone. Ogres and Goblins crying out for war.
Cipher and Ninya rushed and made their way up to the wagon, only to catch the glimpses of Momon slaying the monsters single handedly. A single strike took down an ogre and another strike took out several goblins.
The Swords of Darkness were only seeing a mere fraction of Momonga's powers, but this was his prowess with a sword as a perfect warrior.
Still flushed in the face, she stood there breathing heavily, letting her shoulders move up and down as she took in the scene. While her friends had taken up defensive positions, they were hardly required.
They had found themselves two new powerful comrades next to having Cipher on their side.
"He must have the power of an Adamantite adventurer!" Peter exclaimed seeing this massacre of monstrous creatures who had originally planned to prey on them.
Cipher just stood there with Ninya, watching as the plains of green grass were painted with scent of fresh blood and death.
Reaching over, he gently grasped onto Ninya's wrist, 「revitalize」, was the only spell he cast. Immediately she was relieved of the fatigue of the sudden rush to get close to her friends. Yet her face flushed a deep red feeling his hand entangled in her own.
He was being bold as he toyed with her fingers.
Her heart was thumping through her veins and he could feel it, it was as if he was holding it in his hands. Cipher licked his lips slightly to the feeling.
Her hand was so warm and it was becoming sweaty and clammy. It was just like he imagined it just moments ago. She was becoming so nervous, he could only chuckle quietly.
Peter could see this from the corner of his eye and he raised a brow slightly. He wasn't sure what he was seeing. Was this guy into men or something? Why was Ninya blushing so much? They looked nervous... Was he hurting Ninya? Questions were going through his mind, only for his thoughts to return to the action. He rested his eyes on the retreating monsters and Momon going off to chase them down. "Head them off!" Peter'd shout as he, Dyne and Lukrut went to rush after them.
"Cipher, Ninya, you guard the wagon and Mister Nphirea!"
He nodded slightly as he casually hid their hands in her cloak, behind her back until they were gone.
With a shaky breath, she slowly removed her hand from his grasp and stared up at him. "Why?"
"Why?" Cipher blinked several times when she asked this question. He was familiar with it and it bothered him. This question was impossible. Why would one love or feel attraction for another?
"Why... Why do you like me?"
Nphirea turned his head to look at the two and raised a brow. "Huh?"
"Pay attention to the Wagon," Cipher ordered the young man, pointing at him without even giving him a glance. He then let his hand drop to his side. Smiling at her, seeing her meek and confused expression.
"I like you because of your bravery. How you carry yourself. The pale complexion of your skin. The shortness of your hair. Every bit of you, is why I like you. Especially for the kindness of which is your heart." Cipher said with a voice as smooth as he could possibly make, he could have sworn his voice faded in and out or even cracked from the emotional pressure.
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It didn't bother him though. He wanted to just let her understand. Even though he had only known her for just about ten days now.
Ninya gulped hearing him. This was a confession and he was making it. Her heart was drumming so hard now that her chest and shoulders quaked. Her vision was even throbbing at this point.
He wanted to pull her in, reel her in like the catch of the day. Take her by the waist and just hold her. To feet her head against his chest. To run his hand through her hair. So many things, so many thoughts.
While she could only imagine him doing those things, her eyes bobbed about his facial features. Thinking about what a kiss would feel like. How would his lips feel? Warm? Hot? Soft? Chapped?
She poked the tip of her tongue out briefly before swallowing hard.
Nphirea who was watching this whole thing go on was blushing himself. He was imagining himself saying the same thing to Enri. Oh how he wanted to be able to protect his crush off in the Carne Village. Though at the same time he himself was confused, was Ninya a male or female? Was Cipher into men? He was getting the same thoughts a Peter in that relation.
Without a second thought, Cipher lightly grasped the back of her head and brought her closer to himself. It was a brief embrace as he lightly pressed his lips against the top of her head. He couldn't help but smile as he subtly took in her scent.
She smelled like the hand soap from the Inn, and her hair smelled like the bedsheets she laid in.
With his chest virtually in her face, she could take in his musky scent that had a hint of citric to it. He smelled of a lemon-flower mixture. Part of her wanted to bury her face into the metal armor, to feel how cold it was compared to the air that surrounded them.
Would she stick to him like a tongue on ice?
"What are you guys doing?" Peter asked with a slight chuckle as their attentions immediately snapped to him. He was holding his arm, rubbing it slightly as if caressing a bruise.
The two bounced apart, about a complete foot.
"N-n-nothing!" Squeaked Ninya, almost flailing her arms about urgently.
Cipher on the other hand was wide eyed, "Nothing at all. Ninya was just feeling a bit off, so I was checking his temperature. All's normal."
Peter blinked a few times, not trusting either explanation, but simply shrugged it off with his iconic brand of smile. Bright and charismatic. "Whatever," he dismissed it and turned his head to watch the others returning. "Lets set up camp here tonight."
"Sounds like a good idea." Dyne said as he was cleaning his mace with a piece of scrapped rag.
"I haven't slept a night under the stars in a long while," Cipher commented as he looked to the sky. It was still daylight out, but he thought it'd be nice to learn more about the constellations. Or at least imagine them.
"Oh?" Momon was interested in the idea.
"Lets get a camp fire ready and going!" Lukrut cheered, "I'm pretty sure Cipher brought some good stuff in that basket for a night like this."
Cipher just looked over at him when he said this and tilted his head to the side.
"What'd you bring?" Ninya blinked a few times looking at him.
"Preserves made from tart berries and various fruits, some bagels, along with some rice and exotic seasoned fish sandwiches with tomato and lettuce." It was clear that he had originally brought the food as a picnic for just him and Ninya. Though there was plenty enough to go around.
Nabe blinked a few times hearing about the food. Her eyes were centered on him for a few moments before looking to the basket. Momon wasn't going to eat, so she didn't think she would.
"And we brought soup as well, so we'll have plenty to eat tonight." Dyne assured everyone.
Later that night, they were all situated around the camp fire a few meters from a tall tree, a tree which Cipher was seated upon and watching them. His eyelids were closed so much that it looked as if he was sleeping combined with the shallow breaths he took through his nose.
However he wasn't sleeping at all. Instead, he was watching the backs of their heads as the flames flickered. He could hear them talking, they were having a good time.
This alone made him smile in his supposed sleep.
The group was bonding. They were getting along with Momon, though not really that much with Nabe. Lukrut hasn't appeared to have given up on her and it was apparent that Ninya had interests in him.
She kept looking back at him every now and then to check if he was still there. As if he would just disappear.
He wondered what she was thinking about. Was she thinking about earlier? What he smelled like? What his lips felt like on the top of her head? He was enjoying the thoughts he had.
He knew what it felt like to kiss her head. To smell her hair. To touch her hand. To pull her close. These things all were committed to memory. These things he couldn't do in a game and it made him happy.
That's when his eyes narrowed on Peter who was watching him as he was talking to the others.
Those eyes he wore were curiosity. And soon he was able to figure out what Peter was trying to figure out on his own in his head, when he took a glance towards Ninya.
'He definitely thinks I'm Gay.'
Ninya who was almost oblivious of his gaze, looked over at Peter with a smile. She was situated right next to Momon.
Though as the conversations continued, she turned her attention to the Dark Hero with the big red cape and the others around her.
The talking got a bit quieter, but he could hear everything besides the point. It was clear everything was getting emotional. Ninya started saying something about naming the party being a mistake in her Youth, something which made him snicker a bit.
"There is nothing to be ashamed of," Dyne defended her despite her stomach doing flips.
Ninya just lowered her head and watched the flames dance before glancing over her shoulder towards Cipher. She was wondering why he had separated himself from the group all of a sudden.
Had it been because she didn't give him a straight up answer? While she had asked him why, she didn't actually say yes did she? She let her lips part a bit as she thought, before looking back towards Peter as he explained the meaning behind the Party's name.
"It comes from the swords of one of the Thirteen Heroes." Was just about anything he had said, and Momon was definitely puzzled.
Cipher opened his eyes a bit more as he remained looking over them.
How cute could they be?
Part of him wanted everything to stay like this, but would reality allow it?
Cipher and Ainz Ooal Gown were likely to get politically involved. If the Nobles were afraid of someone more powerful than them currying favor, it was likely they'd fall out of it. Especially if the King couldn't control his Noble houses.
"Tch..." These thoughts were ruining the moment and he just wanted to cast them away.
"Who are they?" Nabe would speak up casually, almost monotone, as Momon avoided asking.
"So you don't know, Nabe.." Lukrut remarked with a soft tone.
"Among the Thirteen Heroes," Ninya found herself smiling as she turned to tell the tale. "The Swords of Darkness are the four swords that the one called Black Knight owned."
The moment they said the name Black Knight, Momon turned his head to look at Cipher who's eyes were glowing in the dark. A mystical blue glow that seemed to seep out of his irises like smoke from a fire. Slowly he turned to look back towards Ninya.
"Hmmm..." Nabe was airily interested it seemed.
"Well, our ultimate goal is to find those swords." Lukrut added onto the conversation much as he did before. It really seemed he was interested in the woman, even if she was more inclined to slit his throat for annoying her.
"Until we get our hands on them, this is our symbol." Peter declared as he and along with the other original members of his group drew their black jeweled short swords.
Though out of all of them, Ninya neglected to unsheathe hers. She just held the leather scabbard in her hands, as it was a precious item.
"Real or fake, has nothing to do with it." Lukrut said with a smile of triumph and great feeling on his face as he held his weapon above his head as he drew it from its home. "These represent the creation of our team, either way."
"Yes. Lukrut said something surprisingly good."
"If only he did that on a regular basis," Cipher chipped in as he padded on over to the group and sat down on his knees behind Ninya, looking over everyone.
"Hey! Isn't that pretty mean!? Why are you ganging up on me!?"
Everyone started to burst out laughing, hardly sympathetic to their friend's plight.
"We have to praise him every once and a while," Peter said, which made it sound as if he was some sort of pet. Though at the same time it was just a friendly tease.
"You guys treat me way too badly!" Lukrut said with a big dumb smile on his face as he rested his hands on his thigs as he remained seated.
"Do all adventurers get along well with their team like this?" Asked the ever so quiet Nphirea, smiling and looking to Peter who's attention he immediately seized.
"Yes. We trust our lives to one another," he answered this with such a smile across his lips, a smile which hardly seemed to fade away.
"And our team is full of boys." Lukrut decided to be himself again and started spouting nonsese, "I've heard that girls in a team can cause serious problems."
While Dyne remained smiling beside Ninya, Ninya on the other hand sighed and closed her eyes with a smile on her face.
Peter who had been wanting to know what was going on between her and Cipher was quick to pick up on this and subtly raised a brow.
"And our team has a goal too. So we're pretty solidified." Ninya suddenly added to keep everything form being awkward so it seemed.
"Things are completely different when everyone has a common goal." Momon proudly announced.
"Were you in a team, Mister Momon?" Ninya asked as she turned her head to look towards the man in black and gold armor with that profound red cape.
"It wasn't as adventurers, but yes." Momon said with a softer tone as he turned his gaze to the sky, Cipher and the others could only imagine him smiling nostalgically.
"Once when I was weak and alone, a white holy knight saved me... He lead me to people I could call comrades for the first time. They were wonderful allies..." The way he spoke, everyone felt an empathic lure. A frown on their lips as it was clear that team was no longer with him. "They were the best friends. I will never forget the days I spent with them."
To Cipher it was similar to that of a Eulogy for the dead.
"Mister Momon..." Ninya muttered sympathetically before putting on a smile across her lips, "So–" She was almost immediately cut off by Cipher who planted a hand on her shoulder.
Glancing over at him, he shook his head. It was best not to assure him of anything. Cipher hadn't shared much information on his group, which acted as support after the death of his sister, because he didn't want to be assured either.
"They're all gone, just like mine."
"You had a team too... Other than those people in the Fortress?" Ninya asked as she looked over at him, everyone having their attention on Cipher and Momon.
"They were my support when my sister died, they let me find solace. They'd even stay with me until I fell asleep, like a child would their parent. It was pretty embarrassing, but they were my best friends. Nothing can replace them, but new memories can be made." Cipher said with a small smile across lips, he hadn't removed his hand from her shoulder.
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