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Nature Abhors a Vacuum


“I should say that you did. Well, since that’s all cleared up, I’m getting back out
there, and if you’re going to join back up, Colt, I want your help out there too.”
“Yeah, just give me a minute here,” the big man answered. Armin nodded, and
headed towards the door, turning to say one last thing before he left.
“What are you all doing sitting around in here, taking up valuable space? This place
is for the wounded, not the heroes of Culdeny.”
“He’s right, we should head out to the ship,” Aiden said after a few seconds of
silence, as the reality of the commander’s statement hit home.
“I’ll walk you out and then I’ve got plenty of other work to do around here,” Colt
said, drawing an exchange of looks among Aiden’s companions.
“You’re not coming with us to Fairloch?” Aiden asked.
“Ships and I don’t get along Aiden,” Colt explained as they walked outside, the
smoke from recently doused flames hanging in the streets on the still-foggy morning. “I
don’t fancy spending the better half of this week with my head over the side. Besides, it
looks like I might still have a shot with Mona after all.”
“How do you deduce that?” Aiden exclaimed. “She lied to you about being with
Armin!”
“Yep, and that means she’s still single, so I’ve got a chance.” Aiden shook his head
in silent disbelief at Colt’s single-mindedness.
“So I guess this is goodbye,” the young explorer told him, feeling strange about this
rude, offensive man who had somehow, over the course of the past month, become one of
his friends.
“Don’t start crying, Aiden, you’ll look weak in front of the women.”
“I wasn’t…”
“I’m just joking, mate,” Colt grinned, offering Aiden his hand, which the young man
grasped. “You’ve done alright, kid. If you’re ever in the area, stop by and we’ll have a
beer together.”
“Wait… did I hear a compliment?” Aiden asked in fake surprise. “You all heard that,
right?”
“Bah, don’t make a big deal of it,” Colt growled.
“You know something Dante?” Aiden said, “You’re all right.”
“Yes, I might even miss making clever remarks about your smell,” Nellise added
wistfully, calm once more. “Take care of yourself, Dante. I’ve never embraced anyone
while wearing armour before, so I’ll spare you the pain.”
“I appreciate that,” Colt grunted. “You got anything to say to me, Sy? You look like
you do, but you’re keeping quiet.”
“I’m not burdened by armour,” she replied softly, coming forward to embrace Colt
fondly, the big man’s bulk all but obscuring the tiny girl in the process.
“I’ll pass on the hug,” Pacian said to Colt, dryly. “Unless you really can’t help
yourself.”
“None of that for you,” Colt growled at him. “I think I’ve gotten to know you pretty
well, these past few weeks, and I don’t like what I see.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Pacian replied defensively.
“You’re a hard man, Pace. You’ve killed more than one man in cold blood right in
front of my eyes. Maybe that’s what the situation demanded, and maybe it ain’t, but to
me, you’re almost as bad as the bastards we fought.”
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