Chapter 1
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"Thank you so much! I don't know what I would have done if you kids didn't show up!" The old woman hugged one of her chickens closer, relieved tears pricking at the corners of her eyes.

Suzie smiled gently back at the old woman, "Don't worry about it! And if you have any more problems you can't solve, ask the Three-Winged Guild and I'm sure they'll send someone to help!"

As Suzie spoke with the old woman, Hiro and Kelsi plucked white chicken feathers out of their  hair and clothes.

"You missed one." Alphonse whispered, pulling a feather out of the back of Hiro's collar, his fingers brushing the nape of Hiro's neck lightly.

Hiro covered the back of his neck with his hand and looked up at Alphonse with a wide, goofy smile, "Thanks, Al!"

Alphonse looked away quickly, his glasses sliding down his nose and his pale ears turning a bright pink.

The old woman set down her chicken in order to take one of Suzie's steady, calloused hands in both of her frail, bony ones, "Please let me pay you back for all your help!"

The tails of the pink ribbons that held up Suzie's hair in twin afro puffs danced  in the air as she shook her head, "No, no we couldn't, it wasn't an official commission!"

"Just some food and supplies for the road, I insist."

Suzie's deep dimples were replaced by a slight crease between her brows as she tried again to refuse the old woman's offer, "We really-"

"- Could use some supplies, thank you." Alphonse interrupted, placing one of his hands on top of Suzie's and the old woman's, smiling so wide his pale blue eyes narrowed into slits.

*

After the four had left the small farming village, walking along the dirt road towards the last safe zone stop before they hit the dungeon they were commissioned to clear, Suzie's slight frown got deeper, "Why did you accept those supplies, Alphonse? That village is poor, the people can't afford to give away food to strangers."

Alphonse shrugged, pushing his golden hair back from his face, "They wouldn't have given us food if they couldn't afford it."

"But-!"

Hiro skipped ahead of the other three and turned around to face them, walking backwards, "I agree with Al... we really needed the food."

Suzie crossed her arms over her chest, her dingy armor clattering together, "Still..."

"We wouldn't need extra supplies if we didn't take your 'detours' all the time." Alphonse pointed out.

Suzie pursed her lips, "Kelsi!" Kelsi jumped at her sharp tone, "What do you think?"

"I, uh..." Kelsi's deep brown eyes flitted around before finally settling on her feet, her wavy brown hiding her face as her chin tilted down, "I agree with the boys..."

Suzie let out a dejected sigh and threw her arms up, "Fine! You're right, I concede. It was my fault to begin with."

"I'm sorry..."

"No, Kelsi, don't apologize. Let's just... pick up the pace and get to the safe zone."

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