The Start of Something New

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Betrayal will make anyone cry.

You knew that better than anyone.

It's been about an hour after that altercation with Kliment and you were sure that he was already making his way out of the city. Right now, you were sitting on a little stool in front of a little stove, still inside the Wanmin Restaurant. With your elbows on your knees, you had your chin in your hands as you waited patiently for further instructions (and for Lumine to return from wherever she went).

The sun was setting over the Harbour, street lights were slowly being lit, and people were already heading to their homes for the day. It's been such a long journey from the Fatui campsite, to the rendezvous-point and then finally, Liyue Harbour. You felt so exhausted that you might as well fall asleep in the kitchen.

Xiangling was in the middle of cleaning up her working space. She had just cooked everyone their favourite meals and made sure that everyone had a happy, full stomach. Xingqiu was leaning against the wall, book in hand as he continued where he left off. It seemed like his love for reading collided a little when it came to adventuring. Lastly, Chongyun was on his twelfth popsicle this hour, chowing down the dessert-like it's been a million years since he last had them.

Everyone seemed to be quite normal, they didn't really look tired from all the crazy stuff that has been going on. You on the other hand, never felt this drained in your life, and that says something. Ever since your promotion, you were always on your feet, running errands and doing missions with Scaramouche.

Perhaps your emotional and mental stresses were finally catching up with you? Everything feels so overwhelming, you honestly didn't know what to do. There's been this heavy feeling in your chest that seemed to ripple all over your body, you were scared that your anxiety was going to put you in cardiac arrest or something.

You jumped a little in your seat when you heard approaching footsteps. The trio was also on high alert: Xiangling paused her cleaning and leaned out of the restaurant's window, Xingqiu quietly shut his book and had a firm hold on his sword, Chongyun bit down on the popsicle stick and had his free hand ready to grab his weapon, the other arm was blocking the door.

"Hello, Xiangling!" The voice was heard from outside. "I came by because I skipped dinner and I'm starving! Wow, the restaurant is so full tonight...!"

You didn't really have anywhere to hide other than inside the burning furnace or under the dusty tables that you were sure your ice tank wouldn't be able to fit under. Once again, you felt caught in another trap. But at least this time, you had people to help you.

"We're closed," Chongyun declared, pulling the popsicle stick out of his mouth and abruptly stopping the trespasser from entering the restaurant.

You managed to get a peek under the Cryo user's arm to see who was visiting this late into the evening. Standing outside with a hand on their hip was a girl with salmon pink hair and two antlers sticking out from the sides of her head. She was giving Chongyun quite a smug look as they seemed to have a mini-staredown.

"I was going to ask Xiangling if she could make me some Crab Roe Tofu...! Gosh, why are you being so cold all of a sudden? I thought we were friends!" The girl replied playfully, toying with the exorcist more.

Xiangling was quick, yet a little nervous, to speak up, "A-Actually, we were just about to head back to our homes for the night! Right, guys?!"

"You're correct, Xiangling," Xingqiu added on, turning towards the pink-haired girl. "We just came back from a long journey and I believe we need our well-deserved rest-"

"Oh, who is this?" All of a sudden, green eyes fell onto you and the stranger started to walk closer.

"She's no one special," Chongyun suddenly jumped in front of you protectively, shielding your face in hopes you wouldn't be recognized. "Only a lost Snezhnayan tourist - we got everything under control."

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