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All The Best Rewards

Title: All The Best Rewards
Fandom: Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Lloyd, Reid
Rating: AA
Summary: Reid and Lloyd accept what should be a simple enough mission...
Notes: for taichara, tales exchange 2013.

Lloyd was just reaching for the door to the Guild when it swung open. Surprised, he found himself staring at an equally surprised Reid.


"Perfect timing," Reid replied, reaching to steer Lloyd back around and away from the Guild. Before Reid pulled the door shut, Lloyd caught sight of Raine and Kratos having a conversation that seemed to involve a lot of frowning.

"I didn't want to go in there, did I?" Lloyd questioned.

"I wouldn't have done it, except I knew there was a very special request that I had to accept." Reid looked over to Lloyd and only took a second for Lloyd to realize where Reid was steering him.

Well... Lloyd hadn't had any plans, which was why he was checking to see if any work needed to be done. If he was helping Reid - and Reid's stomach - and another town citizen without getting between Raine and her ire, all the better.

"See," Reid continued, "I overheard the innkeeper telling Chester that she was going to be hosting a special party and all the food she's supposed to serve is really fancy. Except... she's never made most of it before."

"But won't we just be gathering ingredients for her outside of town?" Lloyd asked. He'd hunted and scavenged plenty of times on behalf of Ad Libitum. He was even learning to cook a bit on his own, though Lloyd wasn't going to mention that to Reid. Not if he didn't want his friend to invite himself over for dinner every single night.

Reid smiled a strange smile. Lloyd thought it was actually a bit of a scary smile. But, then again, Reid also seemed strangely focused.

"She said that whenever someone brings back all the ingredients, she'll do a test run and we get to eat it."

Lloyd blinked. He should have expected that answer. He really should have.

And, well, it was a better job than the last one he'd assisted with, which had ended with Arche accidentally exploding the beast they'd been tracking. At least Lloyd had understood it to be an accident. Arche had apologized quite a few times, helped him to get the less pleasant bits out of his hair, and then carried the parts they'd needed back by herself.

The closer they'd gotten to the inn, the faster Reid seemed to be walking and Lloyd had to double-step to catch up. The pull of Reid's stomach was a strong one.

"I got the request," Reid announced as he entered. The innkeeper - Lloyd knew her name but he could never remember it - seemed to have expected that and gave him a list she apparently had waiting. "Lloyd is going to give me a hand."

"Perfect," the innkeeper said. "Reid filled you in on the specifics already?"

"You need to practice some sort of fancy meal for something?" Lloyd had sort of spaced a bit on the specifics, but he thought he was close enough.

The innkeeper laughed. "Exactly right. And if the practice run turns out to be edible, you boys get to eat it. Chester, too, if he's back."

Lloyd glanced over to Chester's usual domain and sure enough, it was empty. But there was always work and Chester wasn't the type to sit around.

"We'll be right on it."

As soon as they were out of the inn, Reid handed the list over to Lloyd. Lloyd started skimming, but...

"What's a 'Van-go-lee Bee--'--"

"Huh?" Reid peered over Lloyd's shoulder at the list. "Hmm. It has pasta in it, so... pasta? I've never eaten anything with a name like that. At least not that I know of. But if it was good, I probably wasn't worried about what it was called..."

"This is a pretty long list," Lloyd noted. Aside from the pasta dish, there was a sort of fancy bread and a dessert, too. While a free meal would be nice, they'd be doing an awful lot of work for it.

"I think we can get most of this around the Foot of the World Tree."

"Yeah, now that you mention it, most of the ingredients are pretty common," Lloyd said. He smiled. "This should be a piece of cake."

"I want a piece of cake," Reid commented, looking up at the canopy of branches and vines above them. "Or a sandwich. Or a cake sandwich..."

"I want to find an onion," Lloyd replied. "And my breath."

For the moment, they'd escaped the largest, angriest Axe Beak that Lloyd had ever seen. He knew it had a right to be angry - they had just raided its nest and taken most of its eggs. And then they had run because the last time they had set their bounty down to fight, half of it had been stolen by an enterprising Rhinossus.

"An onion and breath sandwich?" Reid questioned. Lloyd resisted the urge to facepalm. This was not the time for Reid to space out.

"Just an onion." Lloyd looked around the clearing. Wild onions tended to grow near the edges, near where the old stone walls still stood. Maybe if they kept their eyes open on the way back towards town, they'd spot one...

There was a crashing behind them and Lloyd already knew what it was.

"Run!" he called as he got to his feet. Reid was not far behind him.

They lost the Axe Beak a second, more permanent time close to the entrance. Lloyd was happy about that. For a few moments while running, he was a little afraid that he'd have to kill it. They'd only taken the eggs they'd really needed, after all. And the Foot of the World Tree was the home of a lot of creatures who really couldn't help living there.

"Still need an onion," Reid commented. "Maybe we can just buy one?"

"Do you have the gald to do that?" Lloyd asked in response. He certainly didn't. Well, possibly he could handle one onion if they really couldn't find one, but he'd been saving for other things. Unlike Reid, he had interests aside from keeping himself fed.

"Let's find that onion." Reid promptly slowed down and scanned the tall grass along the walls.

The innkeeper seemed surprised to see them.

"That was fast!" she commented. "You got everything?"

Reid smiled and handed over a literal pile of ingredients, complete with an onion on top.

"Wonderful," the innkeeper replied. "I'll get right to work and have dinner for you boys in just a bit. Why don't you go clean up while you're waiting?"

"Clean up?" Reid questioned. Lloyd nodded. He knew he needed to wash his face and Reid, too-- Somewhere in-between digging and running and harvesting and running, Reid had gotten a smudge of dirt right across his nose. "Well, if it's for a fancy dinner..."

Later, Lloyd met up with Reid as they passed through the plaza. Lloyd had just finished inviting Genis along. Reid had Arche in tow.

And thankfully, when they arrived at the inn, Chester had returned from his own job.

Lloyd could smell something cooking in the back of the inn and just the aroma alone was amazing.

"That smells good," Arche commented as she sat. "I wonder if I could learn to make it."

"No!" Chester quickly cried, before wincing. "Ah, I mean, not yet. Let the inn have its special fancy dishes for a bit, you know?"

"Huh? Yeah, I guess so," Arche replied. "I wouldn't want to steal business..."

Lloyd let out a quiet sigh of relief that Genis echoes from his other side. Reid didn't seem to have caught on, though. But then again, Lloyd had heard that Reid actually sort of liked Arche's cooking, which was disturbing unto itself.

"Dinner is served," the innkeeper called a moment later as she brought a steaming platter out to their table. "Everything turned out perfectly, I think."

Any lingering annoyance about the job faded when Lloyd looked around at everyone. Sure, he preferred the jobs with action that didn't involve running from Axe Beaks, but this sort of thing made a difference, too. It brought everyone closer together, which was something Lloyd was sure they'd need in the future.


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