"…and then I killed Berrak. But Jinji and Cles were hurt, so I found the old cave and put them there and made them some grass beds and a fire. Jinji woke up, and I called Disaster, and I guess you followed him, cause you came too. Then I took Jinji and you ride with Cles and we came here," Vergon said, his hands twitching around each other.

Halna's shoulders slumped as she sighed, the sound loud in private room of the inn that was empty save for the two of them. "I'm sorry. I am so sorry. We didn't know. We didn't even suspect how strong her was, until his letter got into the Domina's locked office, even with every guard on highest alert. I came to tell you guys, to warn you. I arrived in time to see Disaster bolting, a coil of rope in his mouth. That horse has always seemed smarter than any other I've met, so I followed."

Vergon nodded. "It was good. I was going to tie Jinji to him and carry Cles, and I was worried that it was going to hurt Jinji worse. He nearly died. They both did. I…I forgot. I forgot how easy it is, how fragile mortals can be. I don't want them to die or get hurt again."

The blonde woman patted his arm, smiling sadly. "Part of being mortal is knowing that you could die at any time, but still living your life. Don't you think we live all the harder because we know how short life is?"

"I don't like it. I'm going to protect Jinji and Cles. I'm going to super protect them, and then they'll be good."

Halna was shaking her head when a creak drew both their gazes to the opening door. Vergon was out of his chair in a moment, recognizing the tall figure before Halna could. "Jinji!" he said, sliding one of his partner's arms over his neck to support him. "You're supposed to be sleeping!"

Mijinji waited until Vergon settled him into a chair before speaking. "I couldn't sleep, so I thought I might as well join you two."

"The healer said you have to sleep," Vergon said, crossing his arms over his chest.

"He'll be fine," Halna said, patting his arm again. "Mijinji won't be able to rest until he's got all the details and feels like everything's been settled. He's too much of a worrier."

The man in questions shrugged gently, hiding a wince as he did so. "I saw the healer-mage before I came down. He's finishing up with Clessa. He told me she should be fine. Her power channels were pretty badly burned, and she'll need some time to recover before she can do any major spellcasting, but he expects she'll be back to normal within a week. He did tell me to tell her not to use whatever spell caused that damage again. He said it's obviously beyond her capabilities," Mijinji said, giving Vergon a look that he hoped told his partner to keep his mouth shut.

"I was telling Vergon already, but I need to apologize," Halna said, her gaze locked onto her ex-partner. "I really can't apologize enough for putting you in a situation like-"

Mijinji cut her off with a wave. "It's fine. We survived. Maishi's Spear, we even killed the demi-god who was responsible for everything. I'd say we did pretty good, all things considered."


"But nothing. You know we give our all to any job we take. Besides, you had no way of knowing that he was as dangerous as he turned out to be, so how could we blame you?"

Halna sighed again. "That's not going to stop me from feeling guilt. I'll talk to the Domina, once you're all settled, and see about getting you guys a bonus. I'm sure she'll agree, since we didn't expect you to have to go up against a demi-god. I'm still amazed you all survived against one, let alone won. I wouldn't be surprised if the Domina offers you all positions."

Mijinji shrugged. "I have no intention of stopping my wandering, and I can't imagine this one ever settling down," he said, jerking a thumb in Vergon's direction. "I don't know about Clessa, but I think it'd be best if you explained that to the Domina. I don't want her to think we wouldn't appreciate the offer, but…"

She nodded. "The Domina's a smart woman. She'll understand. Since you're set on leaving, I'll start nosing about for a job for you three. I know the kinds you like, and honestly, you and the mage still look like something Zegah scraped off the battlefield and then used to clean herself and her mount."

"Normally I'd argue, but I still feel pretty weak. We're going to need at least a week for Clessa, and I have a feeling I'll need that long as well."

Vergon stared at his partner. "You need to sleep. I'll guard you and Cles. I'll also make sure everything very good for you. If you need something, you tell me and I'll get it."

Mijinji rolled his eyes. "I'm not that badly off."

"You ought to listen to him. Vergon might be silly, but he's got the right of it this time," Halna said, standing. "Let's get you back to your room and then I'll go see the Domina about your pay, and Captain Alera about any potential jobs."

Seeing his partner and ex-partner close in on him, it was Mijinji's turn to sigh. From the almost matching expressions on their faces, he knew he wasn't going to be allowed to do much on his own. With the way his body felt, he knew he should be grateful for the help, but his pride and stubbornness had him grumbling inwardly. He really couldn't wait until he had his strength back.