“Aether,” Diluc speaks up, adjusting his gloves as he watches Razor disappear into the forest, “I have some matters to attend to as well, so I won’t be accompanying you back to the city. Stick to the outrider.”
Aether blinks, and Paimon gasps as she tries to float over to Diluc. “Wait, wait! You’re leaving too?”
“I’ll be back by dawn,” Diluc sighs, offering a wave before fleeing the scene. Out of a terrible habit, Diluc adjusts his gloves as he breaks into a sprint. The wolf Boreas stated that Razor was not a wolf, but Razor insisted he was not a city human. Then where did he belong? Boreas indicated that the traveler was Razor’s lupical, but it seems like Razor still has difficulty in coming to terms with it.
Master Diluc does not like to be bothered. He’ll lend a hand if it benefits him... if it benefits the goodwill of Mondstadt… he spoke to Lisa recently. She said she had a hand in taking care of a boy who lived amongst wolves sometimes, and that it was Grand Master Varka who gave him his name and taught him how to swing his blade. The Grand Master continues to be the most puzzling man in existence. Did he plan for Razor to join the knights? No… it was kindness, wasn’t it?
Razor reminds him of him in his youth. He wanted strength. To grow stronger to protect his father, and in extension, Mondstadt. He wanted to protect his family, and that meant his brother, Kaeya. Diluc reaches the inner part of Wolvendom’s forest, the soft yet ethereal glow of the lamp grasses catching his attention. Razor stands there, his hood covering his eyes and his claymore left on the ground. Diluc hesitates for a moment, watching Razor as he slumps against the tree and stares at his hands. He mutters something that Diluc doesn’t quite hear.
Diluc steps forward, boots crushing the leaves beneath and making sure his presence is made obvious. “Razor,” he addresses the wolf boy with a gentle tone.
Razor glances up at the voice, his hood slipping and revealing his eyes. They were teary and red, but no evidence of Razor having actually cried. “Diluc. Why… follow me?” He doesn’t move as Diluc expected.
Daring to test his limits some more, Diluc inches closer to the younger boy, offering him a hand. “I have to ensure your safety.” He says gruffly. As usual, he’s vague about his intentions. It might be out of character for him if he admitted the truth.
Razor’s eyes sparkle for a bit, but he shakes his head swiftly. “Talking is hard… living in Mondstadt is hard. I do not belong to the city. I do not belong here. I cannot go to the city.”
“You don’t have to go to the city,” Diluc returns quietly, crouching down to be closer to Razor’s height. “The city is too loud. I understand. How about somewhere closer to home?”
“My home is my lupical… they live in the woods,” Razor murmurs, sliding his hands about his arms. “I cannot stay with them right now. Does Diluc live near lupical?”
Diluc offers Razor a smile, “I live in Dawn Winery. It’s fairly close to Wolvendom. It’ll be better than in the city. It’s quieter there. We can go hunt, too.”
“Diluc and Razor hunt for meat?” Razor asks, his eyes glinting and glittering at the insinuation. He finally takes Diluc’s hand. “Diluc and Razor run around?”
Diluc coughs, pausing for a second as he lifts Razor from the forest ground. Razor’s eyes turn up, and he resembles a dog pleading for food. “Yeah. We will.”
“Huh! Before we asked Razor what he thought about Master Diluc and he said you are black and red. Hot and cold. Now he says you are warm and strong.” Paimon hums as she crosses her arms, she flutters back down to take a long sip from Aether’s apple cider vinegar.
Aether frowns slightly, “Paimon, should we broil you in a stew?”
Diluc sighs as he polishes an empty glass, “I can make a separate drink for Paimon, Aether. Same drink?”
“You got it, Master Diluc!” Paimon exclaims gleefully, to which Aether facepalms.
Razor looks on, drinking his wolfhook juice blissfully, and not saying a word. He watches, and eventually, his eyes travel to Diluc’s. Diluc flashes him a small smile. Razor smiles back.
Aether watches this exchange quietly, and chuckles, “Oh, you guys got a little closer?”
Razor nods, “Diluc strong. Diluc… little scary, but kind. Diluc hunts with me and helps me with sword and talking.”
“I was letting him stay at the winery for a while,” Diluc shrugs, mixing and pouring out the apple cider vinegar for Paimon in a tinier glass. He slides it toward her, and she accepts with a bright smile. “We did some more training and such. He has good foundations thanks to Grand Master Varka. Either way… you two are on the way to Liyue, right? I’ll come with you.”
“Really?” Aether blinks, “I mean… you don’t have to. Aren’t you busy?”
“I need to work out some contracts there, that’s all. We should bring Razor with us too,” Diluc nods toward the younger boy, “he said that his home is with his lupical.”
Aether blinks, cheeks slightly flushed at the honor of being named by such a title. He stirs slightly and looks over at Razor. “Really? Are we lupical?”
Razor nods, “when I am with you. I am happy. I am not a wolf. I am not human. I am Razor… and you are my friend… my lupical.”
“Ah…” Aether trails off before pulling Razor into a hug, “we always will be, Razor!”
Diluc smiles softly at the scene, noticing that Razor already emptied the glass of juice. He takes the glass back and refills it.