#FanficThursday – “In times of peace” (Seven Deadly Sins) – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Welcome to a New World

Three days after the farewell in Liones…

“Fish! Fresh fish!”                    

Whisky! The best distillate in Britannia, only available here!”

Elaine looked around with surprise painted on her face. As soon as they arrived in that village, almost the first one they stopped in after leaving Liones the day before. In-between the couple camped next to a small grove that almost reminded the fairy woman of her home. Used to the travelling inn alone and, at best, Liones and Bernia, she could not help but be surprised by everything that showed up before her eyes.

“Beer! The best beer on the coast!”

“Wow! Looks like we’re in luck,” said Ban, putting his bag over his shoulder. “Do ya think we should…?”

However, when he turned to look for Elaine, the human’s heart almost stopped when he saw that she was no longer by his side. Distressed for a second, Ban looked over the heads of those around him, searching for her. But he relaxed as soon as he detected her blonde crown a few meters away.

Elaine had stopped by one of the docks, staring intently into the enormous water surface that stretched out at her feet. The sun shone on the gentle waves that ended dying by the harbour, whether against stone or wood. Boats of different sizes passed from one side of the firth to the other, carrying travellers and goods between the shores. Others crossed longitudinally from north to south. Elaine had never seen the sea before.

Only when she noticed a broad hand resting on her shoulder did Elaine seem to come back to reality with a wince and turn around. Behind her back Ban gazed tenderly at her from almost twoand a half feet above. Even though Liones and the Fairy King’s Forest had signed the peace again, Ban was not entirely sure how the rest of the kingdom’s inhabitants would react to seeing a high-rank fairy fluttering around their streets. At least outside the capital. So the couple preferred to enjoy their trip without complications. The reason why in public, Elaine strolled with a cape covering her wings instead of flying alongside the human. The only snag that Ban saw, with a certain bitterness, was not being able to kiss his lover as often as he would like, while they were walking.

“Do you like it, Elaine?” The human asked.

He was now somewhat calmer and bit his tongue almost effortlessly, not to scold her for giving him such scares. Afterwards, she turned her head towards the water again. Then she rested her hand on his waist, without yet believing it. 

“This is the first time you see the sea, ain’t it right?”

With some shame reflected in her flushed cheeks, Elaine nodded slowly.

“I’ve never seen so much water together,” she confessed innocently.” Is it—normal?”

Ban chuckled.

“I can’t tell you if there’s a lot or a little, but it’s true that around Britannia I’ve found sea in many places.”

Elaine moistened her lips and turned to him, her eyes bright. 

“So I guess we’ll see more along the way, won’t we?”

Ban laughed then with more eagerness. Sometimes he forgot how innocent a fairy could be when faced with the outside world. King, for better or worse, had always been an exception to that rule. But, Elaine–Ban still remembered the cheer on her face when, almost twenty years ago, he told her that he’d find her brother so she could be free. When she prayed, believing that he’d not hear her, that hopefully, Ban had gone for her and not for the Fountain. And Ban felt very proud that he had been able to keep his promise.

“Don’t doubt that. C’mon, let’s go for a walk around the village and look for an inn, shall we?”

The human lovingly surrounded her shoulders, before non-violently pushing her again towards the village. Oban stretched gently along the entire length of the firth for about an entire mile. By port, the warehouses for fish, and fresh produce alternated with some breweries and other liquor factories that the fairy did not identify at first sight. Besides, some more magnificent buildings and noble houses dropped from the slopes that protected the back of the town. 

However, at some point, they both entered a new, wider street. On whose sides, like a festival of ochre, red and white colours, there were food stalls, shop windows and other booths from which a variety of smells emerged. Elaine followed Ban almost like an automaton, looking around with her eyes wide open. Besides, trying to understand the million feelings which rushed through her veins.

“Hey, ‘you hungry?” Ban asked at one point, bending over almost to her face’s height.

“Ah, no, I’m fine for the moment,” she said, before adding, “you know we fairies don’t feel the need to eat so often.”

Ban made a somewhat indefinite gesture but ended up smiling.

“Well… If you need so, don’t hesitate to tell me and we’ll look for a place. Okay?”

Elaine nodded. Then she noticed her stomach roaring at the smell of something very delicious coming from her left. So she must have imagined that Ban would be surprised when he started to walk, she held his hand and truthfully said:

“On second thought–I think there’s something I want to try right here. Shall we?”

After recovering, the human barely held back neither his laughter nor his emotions before responding:

“Come on. I am hungry.”

Elaine shook her head and ironized, much to his amusement:

“Well, ‘if you need so, don’t hesitate to tell me…’ “

Caught unawares, Ban could only laugh more as he hugged her against his hip and they both moved closer to the said position. During that last half-year, Elaine, who had grown up in a very vegetarian environment such as the Fairy King’s Forest, had also discovered the pleasure of eating other kinds of animal origin foods. Therefore, Ban was not surprised when the fairy woman almost asked silently, just by looking, to taste a seafood plate just like the one that two sailors were eating a couple of tables away. The weather was magnificent, and the inn had tables outside, so the couple did not miss the opportunity to enjoy the sun and the sea air. All while a charming barman served them two local beers and the ordered dish. 

At first, the man seemed reluctant to serve Elaine alcohol and asked if a cider may not be better. She was speechless, not knowing what to say. But as soon as Ban stepped forward and gently told him, albeit, in a tone that left no room for doubt, not to be fooled by her appearance; that his wife had been an adult for a long time and that he should please bring those two beers, the innkeeper fled back into the building like a soul carried by the devil. Apart from that, the meal went smoothly while both chatted, laughed and drank. 

However, when they finished, Elaine discovered with some embarrassment that she was having trouble standing. Without looking up, the fairy tried to take a deep breath to avoid getting dizzy, while putting both hands on the table in front of her. However, a gentle arm on her back almost startled her before facing two scarlet eyes that she adored.

“It seems to me that you still have a lot of beer left to drink, my love,” Ban joked, holding her gently to get it up. Although, at the sight of his somewhat contracted face, the human worried. “Hey, ‘you alright?”

With a sovereign effort, Elaine deeply inspired and nodded, facing up to him again.

“Yes, I’m fine,” she said, her voice somewhat hoarse from the alcohol.

But Ban knew enough about the symptoms of first or second drunkenness to accept it.

“C’mon. Let’s go,” he said, making her lean against his leg as they walked. “I think we’ll find a place to stay first, and then we talk–“

Elaine seemed to want to protest against this, but only a faint complaint came from her lips before Ban stopped two streets away in front of a rather elegant little house in a small square.

“C’mon, let’s go in here, shall we?”

Elaine snorted at every response before letting him drag her gently into the inn without violence. It was welcoming, though unpretentious. A huge dining room occupied a large part of the ground floor. At that time, it was also home to about thirty guests. The couple passed by the end of the counter. With total politeness, Ban asked for a room for two to stay in until the next day. No one noticed them more than necessary while the man paid, always keeping Elaine protected from his body, nor when they lined up the stairs to the first floor.

Once in the bedroom, Elaine, in her light drunkenness, could not help but open her eyes wide with surprise and take a few steps away from Ban into the room. A more or less wide bed occupied the left side, under the window. Meanwhile, a carpet and a sideboard filled the opposite part of the room. True, the furniture had seen better days, but the fairy was just as excited. 

“Do you like it, Elaine?” asked Ban. 

She nodded for every response. He was about to add, modestly, that it was no big deal either and that there would surely be accommodations more worthy of a princess like her on Oban; but he bit his tongue effortlessly when he saw her face in the window light, just as she sat on the bed.

“I must admit that everything I see is a surprise,” she said, before lying down on the sheets to try to minimize the dizziness. “What are our plans?”

Ban, for his part, stretched out like a cat. Afterwards, he dropped the bag into a corner and responded, his back to her:

“Well, I’d say we’re not in too much of a hurry,” he said, casually.” I thought we’d go up the coast but then turn east. I don’t wanna go too far into the territory of giants either. Not even if peace with them is now assured by, you know–“

The human immediately fell silent, swallowing the humorous comment about Diane and King that followed; as he turned and saw, tenderly, that Elaine was no longer listening to him. The fairy had fallen asleep on the pillow in no time while he was talking, for some reason Ban sensed related to alcohol and perhaps a lack of travel habits. The warrior then took a blanket, approached the bed, and covered Elaine carefully; unable to suppress some emotion as he contemplated her so relaxed and happy. It had been months, almost before they fought Melascula, that Ban had not had the opportunity to watch her sleep. 

With that bad habit of the fairies of sleeping little, she always gets up before me, thought the human, jokingly. 

But he preferred to stop when Elaine, a millisecond later, stirred over the sheets and smiled in her sleep. Ban cursed himself, not without some fun, before deciding not to think about certain things around her again, asleep or awake. 

I’m not going to get them back later, he thought, however, as he decided to leave the room and go for a walk in the village. 

He needed a change of clothes for their trip and, deep down, he was dying to find a special gift for Elaine. Where should he start then?

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