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Being a mage meant Yoongi never traveled alone, never left a town without some brute walking in front of him, sword in hand and ready to cut down whatever fiend crossed their path. Being a mage meant Yoongi wouldn’t be able to undergo this quest alone, it meant he needed a shield, someone who could square off a troll while he cast magic from behind.  Being a mage meant Yoongi had to stand in front of this stupid fucking board and rifle through piece after piece of paper, the requests ranging from, “Protect my herd from this wolf, all my sheep are fucking dying,” to, “I need someone to ward my house from spirits so my kids will stop fucking crying,” to, “Sword for fucking hire,” but maybe without all the “fuckings.”

But sword for hire, that was a good place to start.  He rips the tacked up paper off the board, knocking his staff against the wood on accident.  Kim Namjoon, sell sword, could be found at the village’s inn.  Perfect.

-

The inn is small and dingy, something to be expected of an inn run in a small village.  The exterior is covered roof to foundation in ivy, wildflowers popping up sporadically, with a half-broken sign hanging from a post near the entrance.  The interior is just as rundown, wood chipped and rotting, tables and chairs creaking from use.  The air is permanently permeated with mead and Yoongi actually has to step over a passed out drunkard, wrinkling his nose as he picks up his robe so as not to brush it against the mongrel.  He steps up to the counter, a huddled mass leaning on the fixture beside him, fixing the hostess with a smile that is definitely forced.

“Good’ay mage,” she greets, voice hardened from years of dealing with customers of every race, “Whut can I do you fo’?”

He places the ad down in front of her and she squints at it, halting her action of rubbing a dirty glass with a dirty rag, “I’m looking for this man.  Kim Namjoon?”

The huddled mass startles beside him, a yelp leaving its mouth as it teeters in its seat before promptly falling, knocking its head against the dirt floor quite hard. Yoongi peers down at the mass and sees the face from the ad staring up at him, grimacing as he rubs at his head.

“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” Yoongi sighed, raising his eyes to the heavens, “Fuck my life.”

-

Yoongi is eyeing the sell sword sitting across from him critically, the other withering under his stare.

“Have you ever even held a sword?” Yoongi accuses, an accompanying finger pointed in the other’s direction, “You look like a fucking child, do you even know how to fight?”

Namjoon’s mouth drops open in an indignant manner, “Fuck you, I’ve killed a dragon.”

“Maybe a freshly hatched fucking baby,” Yoongi snorts, before turning serious, “This quest is not a joke. It’s going to take us at least a month to get to the cavern and who knows whats in there and where this fucking artifact is.  There’s no point in me hauling your ass out there if you’re just going to get us both killed.”

Namjoon leans towards him, mouth set in a serious line to match the serious air, “I’m serious.  I can help and I won’t even get us killed!”

He raises his hand in what Yoongi assumes would have been some kind of salut, except Namjoon knocks his arm against the table and Namjoon scurries to settle it.  It teeters for a second, before it’s legs finally collapse from old age, falling in on itself into a heap and dragging Namjoon down with it.

Yoongi closes his eyes, “I am going to fucking die.”

-

Namjoon has a bandage on his face and they haven’t even left the village yet, heading to a nearby alchemist’s so Yoongi can brew up a few potions.

“Wait,” Namjoon grabs at Yoongi’s arm and forces him to turn towards the sell sword, “I forgot to mention, I have one stipulation.”

“You have one stipulation for accompanying me to my death?” Yoongi asks, eyebrow raised because the nerve of this guy.

But Namjoon’s nodding, holding eye contact and tone serious, “Jungkook has to come with us.”

“Okay,” Yoongi glances down at the hand grasping at his wrist and a few seconds later Namjoon yelps, retracting his hand as his fingers smoke, the aftermath of Yoongi’s fire spell, “Who the fuck is Jungkook?”

Namjoon’s sucking on his fingers and mumbles something around them, apparently trying to explain but Yoongi already has a headache.

“Whatever, no, I don’t care, bring him, whatever.  As long as bringing him doesn’t raise the price you had on your ad.”

Namjoon shakes his head no and in a moment of good naturedness, Yoongi soothes Namjoon’s fingers with an ice spell.

-

Jungkook, it turns out, is an archer.  Also a child.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Yoongi screeches as they step out of the boundaries of town where Jungkook and Namjoon were apparently camping, “Are you fucking kidding me?!”

Jungkook shrinks under his screaming, pulling his bow closer to him and averting his gaze from the mage in front of him.

“You are trying to fucking kill us, I knew it!  Why the fuck would you want to bring a goddamn child to a goddamn cavern?!  I can’t believe it.  You have a death wish.  Oh my God oh my God oh my God,” Yoongi’s close to wailing now, pulling on his hair because he is most definitely going to die in a month.

Namjoon’s trying to calm him down, waving his hands around frantically while also trying to appease Jungkook, probably saying something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, this crazy mage won’t hurt you, probably, hopefully.”

“Hyung he’s old enough!” Namjoon’s trying to justify, “He’s 19!”

Yoongi stops mid scream, eyeing the child (boy? man?  how can a man look that young Jesus Christ) sitting on the ground near the stamped out fire, finally raising his eyes to meet Yoongi’s.

“You’re lying,” he sneers, reaching forward to catch Jungkook’s chin before he can lower his head again.  Jungkook gasps and the sound gets caught in his throat as Yoongi observes his face, turning his face this way and that as he hums, trying to decide if Jungkook is indeed not a child and will be useful on this quest.

Namjoon rolls his eyes and yanks Yoongi back, shooting Jungkook a worried look and receiving a dazed one in return, “It wouldn’t matter, you promised.”

Yoongi snorts because he’s going to die over a promise, before pointing a finger at Jungkook, “How good are you with that thing?”

Jungkook’s quiet for a second and then shrugs, “What do you mean by good?”

“What do I me- Listen brat, don’t talk back to me.  Are you good?” it’s a challenge now because the only way Yoongi’s going to allow him to follow is-

Jungkook raises his bow and notches an arrow, aiming at Yoongi’s chest.  Before Yoongi even has time to raise his staff in retaliation, Jungkook is shifting his aim and releases the arrow, so close to Yoongi’s neck that the feather nicks him.  He turns to watch as the arrow whistles into the tree and he hears a dull thunk and a shriek, before a bird falls out of the tree, arrow pierced right through its heart.

“How the fuck-” Yoongi turns to look back at Jungkook who’s ready to meet his gaze head on, “… Fine. Fine.”

Yoongi feels maybe just a little better that he actually has a seasoned archer on his side.

-

He takes it back.  He takes all of it fucking back.

“Hyung, you don’t look like a mage.”

“Aren’t mages supposed to wear like pointy hats and long billowing robes and have a gray beard? Aren’t they supposed to mean old? I mean, you have the old part down but-”

“Hyung, can you set Namjoon hyung on fire?”

He wants to strangle Namjoon and then maybe strangle Jungkook before ultimately killing himself because they’ve only been on the road for a day and he’s already tired of their shit.

“Honestly I hope whatever is lurking in this cave kills us because if not I’m going to strangle both of you with my staff,” Yoongi mutters in between the rhythmic clunking of his staff hitting the ground because apparently it also doubles as a walking stick.

“How would that work?” Jungkook seems genuinely curious, “Do you mean like cast magic from it or like physically strangle us with it?”

Yoongi eyes him, hearing a thump as Namjoon has no doubt tripped over a pebble again, legs and arms littered with bruises from where he’s fallen so many times already. Finally, he thrusts the staff in Jungkook’s direction.

“Please put this to good use and knock me out.”

Instead Jungkook accidentally sets a bush on fire.

-

They’ve been traveling for two weeks when they stumble upon destruction, a massacre.  There’s bodies littering the path, most missing heads and the ground is stained with blood.  There’s a burnt carriage laying on the side of the road, the pulling horse lying dead near it.  There’s also three men, alive, standing in the midst of the massacre, two guarding one as he dances and waves his staff around.  Yoongi knows what he’s doing: he’s performing a sending.

The atmosphere is solemn as they watch the man dance, the souls of the dead rising from their bodies as they follow the man’s staff, his moves calm and calculated as he urges the dead to move on and find residence in the Farplane.  He sees Jungkook shift out of the corner of his eye and Namjoon’s arm wraps around his shoulder, pulling the younger boy closer.  Jungkook looks sad as he watches the souls dance.

The man raises his staff in the air and the souls follow, before dispersing and disappearing, finally at rest.  Yoongi can see the exhaustion in the other man’s shoulders as he lowers his staff, sweat dripping off his forehead.  One of the men, whom Yoongi assumes is a guardian, tenses his shoulders and turns his face slightly towards them, yellow eyes glinting and removing his hands from his sleeves to reveal claws. A werewolf.

The summoner seems to finally notice their presence and turns to them with a smile already set on his face, “Hello there!”

Yoongi raises his hand in a friendly gesture, hoping to appease the on-edge werewolf, “Hello.”

The summoner’s staff is grand and elegant, the handle carved with intricate designs and painted in vibrant colors.  It looks to be the staff of a high summoner and Yoongi wonders what a high summoner is doing out with only two guardians.  Even though a werewolf is as good as three guardians, he’s a little surprised a summoner allows an “unholy” being to travel with him.

The other boy is all smiles, pulling the summoner to him and fawning over him, a large sword strapped to his back; Yoongi can only imagine the damage the boy can inflict in comparison to Namjoon, even though he’s probably much slower.

“And where are we off to on this fine, sunny day?” the summoner calls, moving away from the massacre and towards them, still friendly.

“We’re off to Siren’s Cavern,” he informs the summoner, eyeing the boy with the sword, thoughts calculating as he says, “The lord of Ivenstock requested we try and find an artifact of one of their past champions: a crown.”

“Siren’s Cavern?” the werewolf asks, eyes narrowing into slits, “I’ve heard rumors that a vampire resides there.”

Vampires.  What vile creatures, luring men and women into caverns with promises of sex only to drain them in the end.  The summoner’s eyes narrow at the thought of the depravity and he shares a look with the werewolf before he turns to Yoongi.

“Allow me to apologize, we haven’t formally introduced ourselves yet.  I’m Seokjin, high summoner of Grasmere, and these are my guardians, Hoseok,” the werewolf, “and Taehyung,” the sword master.

“I’m Yoongi and these are my hires Namjoon and Jungkook,” the three of them bow towards the summoner.

Seokjin must be on some quest of his own if the high summoner of the holy city is out and about.

“I have a request,” Seokjin starts, as Hoseok and Taehyung take up residence on his sides, “Please allow us to join you on your quest to find this artifact.  It would please me greatly if I could rid this world of one more vampire.”

Yoongi wonders how Seokjin can dislike vampires but be okay with werewolves and eyes the summoner.

“I won’t share the reward with you,” he states bluntly and Jungkook gasps, rather drastically in all honesty.

“Vanquishing this vile creature will be reward enough,” the answer easily rolls off his tongue, poised and practiced.

“Fine,” he nods, “Let’s find a place to camp for the night so you can rest up before we set off.”

Seokjin bows his head slightly in thanks as Hoseok stalks off, apparently use to taking the lead. Taehyung slides up to Jungkook, a greasy looking grin set in place and Yoongi closes his eyes, already dreading his decision.

“So gorgeous,” Taehyung starts, tongue dripping with debauchery, “Travel often?”

Yoongi honestly wants to die.

-

There has never been such a rag tag group of people, Yoongi thinks, as they pass through a town and kids and adults alike stop to stare at the high summoner of Grasmere and a werewolf. But Yoongi doesn’t care.  He just wants to finish this quest and return to the Mage’s College and hopefully never see any of these people again.

Taehyung hasn’t left Jungkook alone the entire two weeks they’ve been traveling, whispering dirty things in his ear and trailing wandering fingers down his arm.  The boy’s face has been in a constant state of redness and Yoongi almost feels bad but honestly he doesn’t care if Taehyung is trying to get in Jungkook’s pants.  He does care, however, that he’s experiencing Namjoon’s second hand embarrassment as he tries to impress Seokjin.  The summoner takes it all in stride, being supportive as Namjoon tries to start their camp fires and sets himself on fire instead, when Namjoon holds a branch back for him and disturbs an eagle nest and prompts the bird to attack him. Hoseok is the only one who he can kinda stand and that’s because he doesn’t talk.

They’re a day away from Siren’s Cavern and they decide to rest in town, taking up residence in the inn, which is just as old and musty as the one he found Namjoon in, and Taehyung drags Jungkook off to the bar.  Namjoon looks affronted but lets it happen, because Seokjin is in the room and apparently Namjoon thinks Seokjin is more important.  Hoseok disappears and Yoongi thinks he must be out hunting.  He doesn’t care, he wants to gather some white lilies that only grow in this region, on the riverbank.

Yoongi’s on his way out the door when he feels it, the pinprickly feeling of eyes on the back of his head.  He grips his staff a little tighter, gaze sweeping behind him and observing his surroundings.  He sees Jungkook and Taehyung sitting in the corner near the fireplace, Taehyung trying to force a glass into the younger’s hand and he sees the hostess flitting from table to table, placing drinks in front of patrons, and then he sees it. There’s a shifting in the corner of the inn and Yoongi casually lets his eyes fall that way.  There’s more shifting and then someone leans forward and dark eyes make eye contact with his own.  The look is sultry, eyes lidded and downcast, glinting in the firelight.  It’s a come hither look, with matching pursed, pink lips and thin fingers threading through equally dark hair.

After finding the cause of his unease, he turns away completely uninterested in some guy making bedroom eyes at him, and exits the inn, intent on finding those white lilies.

-

The next day finds them standing at the mouth of Siren’s Cavern, looking into the dark depths that houses the crown.

“Are we ready?” Seokjin asks, forever at ease, Hoseok perched at his side and sniffing curiously at the air.

“It definitely smells like a vampire,” he informs the group, wrinkling his nose in distaste, “and rotting flesh.”

Jungkook pales slightly and Yoongi is once again worried about bringing a child into the cavern.

“Let’s just go. Taehyung, Hoseok, with me, you three hang back,” Namjoon takes the lead, drawing his sword and holding it firmly in hand, shield in other.

Taehyung and Hoseok nod and Seokjin lets Namjoon take lead.  Jungkook keeps his bow firmly in hand as the three of them follow the warriors, ready for anything.

-

The cave is invested with various wild animals, drawn to the cavern by the stench of rotting carcasses and they’ve vicious.  Namjoon may be unable yo walk but fighting is the one thing he seems to know how to do, adept with his sword and shield.  Taehyung mainly stuns the enemies so Namjoon can finish them off and Hoseok takes care of stragglers.  Jungkook handles the flyers, arrows always finding their targets and Yoongi takes care of the elementals that aren’t really affected by swords.  Seokjin focuses mainly on casting protecting and healing spells and the occasional ward spell around the three long-ranged fighters.

Yoongi is exhausted, feels the magic depleting from his veins as he uses spell after spell, working through animals and monsters, searching high and low for a crown.  He’s not sure where it’ll be, lying dusty and alone in a corner or resting atop the skull of the long dead champion.  He’s definitely not expecting to see it resting atop the dark crown of hair, attached to the familiar young face that made bedroom eyes at him the previous night.

“What the actual fuck,” he says, lowering his staff as the figure raises his eyes, lounging in a stone throne, twirling a dagger between his fingers.

The vampire, the vampire, gives him a smirk, eyes flashing red and opening his mouth to show off his fangs.

“How the fuck did you not smell a vampire in the inn last night?” Yoongi rounds on Hoseok, annoyance laced in his words, “Honestly what kind of werewolf are you?”

But no one is paying attention to him, all of their eyes vacant and focused on the creature in front of them.  When he turns back around, the vampire has a look of surprise on his face, dagger posed on one finger.

“You’re… you’re conscious?” he asks, standing up and the crown tilting down his head slightly.

“Um… yes?” Yoongi’s confused, “Am I not supposed to be?”

The vampire waves his fingers and the five adventures take a step forward simultaneously, dropping their weapons.

“Are you fucking kidding me,” Yoongi raises his staff, starting to glow with an impending fire spell.

“How are you resisting me?” the vampire asks, obviously frustrated.

In response Yoongi shoots a fireball at him and the vampire squeals, rolling out of the way as the fireball hits the throne he was previously sitting in.  The vampire looks up, enraged, and his eyes flash red again. He can literally see everyone’s boners and he rolls his eyes.

“Ugh, can you not?” he asks, raising his staff again.

The vampire lets out a frustrated scream and Yoongi throws a very weak trap spell at the vampire.  It stuns him for a moment and Yoongi throws another fireball at the vampire.  It hits him in the arm and the vampire yells, arm going up in flames and apparently concentrating on his burning self cuts through the fog the others are under.  Seokjin comes to first and throws a much more adept trap spell at the vampire.

“God, you guys are horny,” Yoongi complains, “I could have died because you all think about dick oh my God.”

Seokjin’s blushing furiously, brandishing his staff at the vampire and ready to kill.

“Wait wait wait,” the vampire gasps, unable to move but able to wage his tongue, “Don’t kill me, don’t kill me please.”

“Why?” Seokjin demands, “What purpose could you possible serve this world?”

“I… I’m really good at interrogating?  Mind control? Whatever you need I can do it just please, please don’t kill me.”

The vampire is pleading for his life, trying to hold eye contact with whoever will look at him, which only turns out to be Yoongi because Yoongi can’t be put under any kind of spell.

Seokjin is contemplative, staring at the trembling vampire, before directing his eyes to Yoongi.

“Can you grab that iron shackle near the throne?”

Yoongi does as told, unbelieving that Seokjin is going to let this lust crazed demon live.  Seokjin taps the iron as he mutters an incantation under his breath and the shackle glows as words carve themselves into the iron. Seokjin slips it onto the vampire’s wrist and it shrinks until it fits snugly around the bone, and then, only then, does Seokjin let the vampire out of the trap.  The vampire falls to the floor, hissing as the iron settles around his skin.

“What’s your name?” Seokjin asks, slipping back into diplomat mode.

The vampire glances up, smirk tugging on his lips, before it promptly falls.

“You’ll discover that you can’t put us under your spell anymore,” Seokjin informs him and the vampire whimpers, “What’s your name?”

“… Jimin…”

Seokjin nods and turns to Yoongi, “Help him to his feet please.”

“No.”

Hoseok does it instead, snarling slightly when the vampire, Jimin, shows his fangs.  Jimin staggers on his feet, but holds his own when Hoseok lets go of him.

“What are we going to do with him?” Taehyung looks intrigued.

Yoongi turns to the vampire whose side eying him, “What?”

“Why didn’t it work on you?”

This catches everyone’s attention and they all turn towards him, but Yoongi’s not embarrassed.

“I don’t like sex.”

Jimin looks so affronted that Yoongi has to laugh.  Honestly, what the fuck even is his life.

-

Seokjin decides not to take Jimin to Grasmere, where Jimin would promptly be executed, so somehow Yoongi gets stuck with the vampire. Taehyung and Namjoon switch places, Namjoon accompanying the summoner back to the holy city, and Taehyung sticks close to Jungkook, who looks more at ease a month and two weeks later, and the blush is only pink instead of red.  Hoseok still chooses to go with Seokjin, even though Yoongi learns that Hoseok is under no servitude and owes nothing to him.  Taehyung and Jungkook make their way to Wolfden, where the two have decided to join a guild.

So Yoongi is sitting beside the vampire in the back of a carriage heading for the Mage’s College, crown delived to Ivenstock’s lord, and Jimin is shaemlessly staring at him.

“Jesus what.”

Jimin gives him what is apparently supposed to be a sultry grin which Yoongi returns with a look of distaste.

“Where are we going?” Jimin finally asks, moving closer to Yoongi as the carriage bounces along the road.

“Back to the Mage’s College. I’m hoping the headmaster will know how to handle you.”

“Baby you can handle me any day,” Jimin practically purrs and Yoongi whacks him against the back of his head with his staff.

“I hate you, stop talking.”

“Oh, a strong silent type, I’m into it.  Are you into ropes and gags because I definitely am I mean-”

Yoongi groans and throws his head back because seriously, why is this his life.