Leader (Part 1)Mature

"Would you mind telling me why we had to leave the damn city?" Zane kicked a rock on the side of the dirt road. "There might have been some clues there! He might have even been there! Sands, woman!"

Of course, yelling at this annoying woman was a waste of time. Her lack of reaction was more frustrating to Zane than holding back. Sands! 

"Tav has a large force of Scarred Sanction that patrol it," Thorn said, not even turning to look at Zane. Her hair was tied back today and her hood down. Despite being a pretty one, Zane still hated everything about her. "From what you told me, these men need at least one Void user to have kidnapped your brother." She turned and winked. "So, just be patient, sweetie, I'm sure we will find him before you start crying in that adorable way!"

Zane gritted his teeth but said nothing. It wasn't worth it. He decided he would throw her in an oasis when this was all over then freeze her clothing so it broke with a light punch. She would wander around naked for a few days before finding people to give her clothing. That'd teach the damn sandreaver. No, wait. He should address her properly as filth. 

"You know, I can hear every one of your adorable little thoughts," Thorn hummed musically. 

"Odd that adorable for you is nudity and sunburning," Zane snapped. 

Thorn chuckled. "Silly boy, the adorable part is that you think you can do those things." 

Zane had to compress his urge to hit her. He was raised never to hit a woman who was not a warrior. Well, Thorn was a warrior. But, he still did not need to hit her. His pride wouldn't like it if he attacked a woman helping him, despite her damn mouth. The only issue was that his anger was slowly becoming a force that could challenge his pride. Damn... He only needed to hold out until Arch was found. That was all. 

"So, where are we headed?" Zane asked, trying hard to suppress calling her filth. He did like that word.

"Aww, so you're finally curious?" Thorn twirled and started walking backwards. "Well, that's only natural for little boys to be curious! I'm just glad I don't have to teach you the secrets of the night." She giggled as Zane turned red. He knew about those! Sands! Did she think he was a child?! 

Thorn slowed her pace and turned so that she was now walking beside Zane, much to his annoyance. "Calm down, sweetie," she said, pulling out her rough map of the Plains. "We are headed toward the Arena City out east."

Annoyance and confusion. Great. "Why there?" Filthy woman.

The shorter woman tsked twice before answering. "Taking a talented Air user? Why, what better way to use him than for fighting!" 

"Fighting!? Sands!" Arch could barely punch a sandbag, let alone a person! 

"They will train him, of course," Thorn said. She then pointed to a large river that looked to divide the Plains in two. It ended at a place called Mar. "We will head to the Arena City and then make our way up the river toward Mar. If we don't find anything, then we can circle around to search the other side of the river." 

Zane took the map and looked it over. This 'Arena City' was a place where they held all the tourneys in the mainland. Exceed, the Faerein king's nephew, had left for the place just after Saeron had started pushing for war all those years ago. Maybe Zane could find the man and recruit him. Maybe he could use Exceed to replace this damn woman!

"Sorry, but I'm not going anywhere til I see your cute little brother." Thorn smiled in a way a little girl might after asking for a brass necklace. "I just have to see the poor boy who has to deal with your temper!"

Cursing, Zane handed back the map to the filthy woman and continued on. They would reach a place called Silverbow where a bridge would take them over the large river and towards the Arena City. Hopefully Thorn would keep her annoying mouth closed more in the coming days. 

"The river is called the Scar, you know?" Thorn said softly.

Zane ignored her. She was starting one of her conversations. He knew he would be lured in with her casual tone and by the surprise that she wasn't being annoying. He couldn't fall for that. 

"You're no fun," Thorn pouted. "It's like you want me to stop talking or something."

"Just figuring this out, sandreaver?" 

Thorns laugh told Zane he had just lost to some game she had been playing. Filthy woman and her mind tricks. It didn't help that she could hear every damn thing he thought! Sands! Zane decided he hated Mind Mystics the most now. 

Why did he have to find the most useful person in Mounseik who was also the most annoying? It was like the Unscarred Creator was delivering Equality to him. Scarred Father, he hated this. 

But, at least he wasn't in Arch's position... How was he?

The End

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