Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.
General Content Rating: 18+
Story Content Warnings: Heavy Swearing, Blood and Gore, Death, Racism, Sexism, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Exorsexism, Child Abuse, Underage Shenanigans (Drinking, Smoking, etc.), Suicide
Current Chapter Content Warnings: Heavy Swearing
Viewer Discretion is Advised
“You need to rub it back and forth faster!”
“I’m going as fast as I can!”
“…You’re practically destroying that twig. Geez! calm down Popeye!”
“Oh?” Brian whipped his head to Diantha. She leaned over Brian, judging him as he rubbed a kindling against a tree stump. Brian handed the kindling to her. “I’d like to see you try.”
A haughty smirk spread on Diantha’s lips; she yanked the stick from Brian. “Watch and learn big boy!”
Aden watched Diantha and Brian attempt to kindle a fire at a distance. His current goal was far from his mind, and the conversation between Brian and Diantha was far more interesting to him. His lovestruck-filled eyes couldn’t stop staring the two. They’re so cool and pretty! He wished he could go over there and talk to them!
“Aden. Please focus. We need to gather twigs for the fire.”
Aden snapped his attention back to Noriko, just was a ways off. She could only carry a few twigs with her one arm, so she had asked Aden to help her collect wood for the fire.
Now remembering his goal, Aden vigorously nodded in recognition. He snapped the nearest branch off of the nearest tree, and added it to the collection of twigs he carried.
What followed that awkward silence that occurred when Diantha asked if anyone knew how to start a campfire was Brian’s lazy shrug. “Can’t be too different from the movies, right?”
Noriko would have explained to Brian how that was a completely absurd assumption to make, but was cut off by Diantha’s surprising agreement. “I can’t believe I’m saying this but you’re right. I mean, even if it’s not completely accurate, it’s all we got!”
Aden was quick to agree, despite having no understanding of what Diantha and Brian were talking about, and so it led to their current situation. Diantha and Brian tested their theory while Noriko and Aden gathered wood for the campfire.
Aden’s twig collection became too full for him to carry any more, and so he skipped towards the twig pile that was accumulating close by the kindling stump. Dumping all the twigs in one go, he was distracted once more by Brian and Diantha.
Diantha was furiously rubbing the stick against the stump. Her hands were only a fast-moving blur at this point. Brian almost looked impressed, however, there was still no trail of smoke or literally anything that signaled that the smallest ember had been created.
“Definitely watching, but not sure if I’m learning. That all you got?” Brian gave Diantha a small sly smirk, cutting through her pride. She grimaced in frustration.
Diantha rubbed the stick against the stump even faster, if that was possible. A strange, electrical spark briefly flashed around her fingertips, and a pink glow shone from under her sweater.
In a split second, a bright light nearly blinded Aden, Brian, and Diantha herself. A strange, ear splitting buzz echoed throughout the forest.
When Brian and Diantha recovered; the entire stump itself was consumed in flames. Diantha and Brian — in a state of panic — crawled away from the fire.
“What the fuck did you do you crazy bitch?!” Brian shrieked out, glaring daggers at Diantha; he was more scared than angry at her, and his quivering body showed this.
Diantha gave an unsure shrug, staring at her hands in shock. “…I…I don’t know!”
Aden had curled up into a ball at the sudden explosion, covering his ears and whimpering in fear. Noriko, who wasn’t very far off, witnessed the explosion and raced towards the scene as fast as she could. “What happened?!” She yelled out; panting for breath.
“Diantha set the fucking stump on fire!” Brian motioned to the said fiery stump.
Noriko gawked at the blazing stump for a moment. breathing in, and breathing out, she flapped her hands to calm herself. There was no need to panic. The stump was on a barren patch of ground, so there wouldn’t be a forest fire.
“Everyone, please remain calm. This…is technically what we were trying to accomplish.” She reasoned. She ceased flapping her hands; she really hoped no one noticed her doing that.
Aden slowly removed his hands from his ears. He opened his eye, and peaked at the fire before cautiously standing straight again.
“…Yeah…we have a campfire now.” Diantha muttered to herself with an unsure smirk, trying to comfort herself.
Aden was sent to collect more sticks for their new campfire. Diantha came with him this time. “You look exhausted Noriko. Sit down and rest a bit.” She had urged Noriko before walking off to help Aden.
So Noriko was now left by herself, next to Brian. The hot-head sat lazily on the floor, leaning his head against one of his hands.
“…So…How’d you find us?” Brian finally awkwardly asked.
Noriko let out a small sigh; pressing her face against her scrunched-up legs. She rubbed the gem embedded on her forehead. “…I heard your thoughts.”
Brian blinked for a solid ten seconds. “…Huh?”
“I was…distracted…by something when I started to hear voices that weren’t my own. When I realized my gem was glowing, I made the connection. Listening to Aden’s thoughts helped me find the flowers he left behind, which led me to you three.”
“You think I’m insane, don’t you?”
“Did you get that from reading my mind?” Brian scoffed and rolled his eyes.
Noriko shook her head. “No.” She replied, almost in a whisper. “I can just tell.”
Silence hung between the two, before Brian finally answered. “You’re kinda right I guess. You sound like a goddamn lunatic, but Diantha set a goddamn stump on fire so…” Brian turned to Noriko, only to find her dosing off.
He cleared his throat; Startling Noriko awake. “I’m sorry.” She muttered; letting out a small yawn. “I think I almost fell asleep while you were talking. Did you say something-“
“Lay down and go to sleep.”
Noriko wasn’t surprised by Brian’s bluntness; she was more surprised by what he told her to do. “I need to wait for Diantha and Aden to come back. We need to settle who gets the first watch shift, and-“
“We’ll do that shit for you. Go to sleep.”
“…Interesting how you seem to care for my well-being despite, as you’ve said yourself, “us all being strangers-“”
Brian forcefully shoved Noriko to the ground, frowning in embarrassment. “I’m not that much of an asshole.” Was all Brian retorted with.
Noriko didn’t bother to sit back up. Sighing, she shifted to the side. A few seconds later and she was fast asleep.
Diantha and Aden came back with more sticks to fuel the fire soon after. Diantha eyed the sleeping Noriko, and smiled. “She looks peaceful like that.” She whispered; crouching down next to the one-armed girl. “She’s taken the initiative to guide us so far. She deserves a break.”
Brian grunted in agreement; facing away from Diantha.
Aden skipped over towards Diantha, and was about to shout out his thoughts; but Diantha put her finger to her lips, Warning Aden not to wake Noriko up. Aden covered his mouth, nodded, and muttered an apology before speaking his comment in a whisper. “I hope she feels better.”
“Yeah, me too.” Diantha noticed Noriko’s slightly red and puffy eyes.
“So… who’s gonna keep watch first?” Brian interrupted the moment, lazy-eyeing Diantha and Aden. “’Cause it’s not gonna be me.”
“Ugh, Guess I’ll do it then.” Diantha huffed out, glaring at Brian.
“I could do the watching!” Aden offered.
“That’s okay Aden.” Diantha replied, gently patting Aden’s back. “You almost got eaten by a tiger, you deserve a good nap.”
Aden’s expression saddened. “But I want to give help…” He said, yawning. Brian almost snorted at Aden’s grammar once again, desperately hiding an amused smile.
Diantha gently reassured Aden that Brian would wake him up to do a shift. That seemed to be enough reassurance for Aden, who skipped towards a spot close to Noriko and laid down. Brian himself shifted to the side; facing away from the others. It was assumed he fell asleep.
Diantha sat down next to Aden; watching her surroundings in boredom the same way one would watch paint dry. Nothing much happens in a forest; not for the human eye to see.
Eventually, Diantha noticed that Aden still wasn’t asleep. he laid there, staring blankly at the sky.
Aden shook his head.
“…Maybe…maybe a story would help?” Diantha suggested. There wasn’t much else to do. There was no glass of milk to heat in a microwave.
“Story?” Aden raised his eyebrow in confusion, the word seemed almost foreign to him as he pronounced it slowly.
“Y’know, a story? Like Little Red Riding Hood, or Jack and the Beanstalk-“
“¡Ah! ¡Historia! Story!”
“I know one.”
Diantha was, needless to say, intrigued. “What’s it called?”
Aden retreated into his mind. Eventually, he found what he was looking for in there. “…Children of Lir?”
Diantha blinked. She had never heard of that one before. “…Maybe telling the story will help you sleep?” Listening to some folktale would easily be more entertaining than just sitting here by a fire, observing the darkness in silence. “Do you remember how it goes?”
“Only parts…Lir was ancient king of the sea. He had a wife named Eva, who he had four babies with. The most old son had name of Aodh, the daughter had name of Fionnula, and the twin boys had names of Fiachra and Conn…”
Diantha listened to Aden’s story with a soft smile on her face; twirling her hair with her fingers. Brian, who was still awake, listened in secret; the red-head’s tale lulling him to sleep.