Daigo’s mug of ale clanked against those held by his comrades in arms, or what had remained of them after the battle for Azure City, before he brought the mug to his lips. Daigo usually wasn’t a drinking man, but he felt he could make an exception for his bachelor party. He was lucky that they had taken to port the night before his wedding, though not so lucky in that Hinjo’s pleas for help had yet again been rebuffed. He took another swig of his ale, letting out a small breath as he gulped down the smooth, bitter drink.
Daigo had to admit it had been awhile since he had a drink; the Azurite army had frowned upon drinking while on duty, and he had done his best to be an exemplar soldier. And while he was sure he would regret it tomorrow, he felt that he might as well drink as much as he could. After all, it’d be one of the last nights were he wouldn’t need to worry about the responsibilities that came with marriage.
The ale came quick and fast, and the night began to move in a blur that Daigo found himself struggling to keep up with his surroundings. He could make out his friends conversation: lewd jokes and anecdotes, calls for more ale, constant congratulations on his upcoming day. None of their voices could fully cut through the haze Daigo found himself lost in.
“Congratulations to you, sir. I wish you much happiness.” That voice, strange and strong and unfamiliar, cut through to Daigo, however. Turning towards the speaker, Daigo’s eyelids, which had been slumped in drunkenness, lifted slightly at the sight. The voice, which sounded like it would come from someone at least a foot taller than himself, instead issued from a kobold. Though, not a kobold of the likes Daigo had ever seen before: he wore a fine silken shirt and pants, with a rapier about as long as the kobold was tall at its side. The creature held a small glass of wine out towards Daigo in recognition.
“Tha…thanks you….” Daigo slurred, stunned at the properness of the small creature. As if an after thought, he added, “I’m gah-getting married tomorrow.”
“Indeed.” The kobold took a sip of his wine. “I heard also that you are expecting a child as well. Is that not correct?”
Daigo’s mouth dropped open. In his near drunken stupor, he must have admitted to the fact that Kazumi was already eight weeks pregnant to his friends, something he had been trying to hide in order to not disgrace his fiancée. He could feel that information clearing his happy drunken stupor and making him wish he could kick himself once or twice in the rear. “Y…yes.” He admitted, looking down into his ale.
The kobold nodded sharply, finger tapping against the stem of its glass. “There are few things a child cherishes more than its parents.” Pausing for a minute, the creature took not sip but a gulp from his glass and, setting it aside on the bar counter, asked, “Tell me, are you an adventurer, perchance?”
“N…No…” Daigo could feel himself spinning and put out an arm, grasping the counter to keep himself from falling out of his chair. “Army.”
“Just as dangerous, I suppose.” Shaking his head, the creature said, its voice beginning to crack, “Might I make a suggestion? I think you should find another line of work. A safer one.” Daigo furrowed his eyebrows at the kobold; was this strange little reptilian monster worried about his well being? Swallowing a lump in his throat, the kobold continued, “You can’t imagine what it feels like…to know that your father was killed by some…some pathetic little…” The kobold placed an elbow on the bar counter and, covering his eyes with the palm of his hand, began to weep.
Daigo found himself reaching out for the monster, patting its elbow carefully to try and calm it down. He found himself managing to croak out “Are you…you going to be alright?”
Sniffling, the kobold wiped its eyes and nodded. “Yes, I’m….I’m sorry. Let me explain.” Taking a long draw from its wine glass, the kobold continued, “My father had been an adventurer, and ultimately wound up in a party of, let us say…ill repute. The group he was with wound up crossing swords with another group, and my father was killed. My family couldn’t afford to have him raised, and his ‘friends’” the kobold spat the word in contempt, “simply left him behind, never bothering to attempt to have him raised.” It took another drink from its glass and, pausing for a minute, sighed and continued, “I myself had been an adventurer for several years at this point, having wanted to follow in my father’s shoes, and had made several contacts. I found the remaining members of the group my father had been part of and joined them. They were an odious bunch, but they were planning to start another fight with the group that had killed my father, and I intended to take my revenge by slaying my father’s murderer.” Sighing, the kobold finished, “In the end, the monster had me butchered as well, though I had made enough friends by this point that I was raised shortly thereafter. The only thing I truly lost, other than avenging my father, was my mustache. It was a fairly nice one, as well. Do you have any idea how long it takes a kobold to grow facial hair?” It snorted with derision and said, “I’m simply glad that I had no memory of how the barbarian had used the top half of my skull as a chip bowl, which is all my friends had been able to find of me.”
Daigo was taken aback, his drunken haze beaten off for at least a bit by the small creature’s revelation, and asked, “What kind of monster would even conceive of doing such a thing?”
“It was a halfling.” The kobold replied, seemingly as shocked as Daigo was. “Foul little being. His head was shaved, though you could see some of his red hair starting to grow in. He-“
“Green clothes and cloak?” Daigo asked simply. “Used daggers?”
The kobold’s mouth hung open for a moment before he uttered out, “You know Bitterleaf?”
Daigo let out a small, sharp laugh. “He wanted to fire my wife and I out of a catapult into a room with an epic-level lich in it.”
The kobold slammed its fist down on the bar counter in rage. “For the sake of all that’s decent! Is there anything the little monster won’t stoop to?”
As the more Daigo and the kobold talked, the more the two of them drank. And the more the two drank, the more everything became a blur neither could fully see through. As the night went on, so did their drinking, and they conversed on things that neither would remember. Idle topics, brought up on the spur of the moment.
The next moment either of them would be aware of anything happening around them was when they found their lips locked against one another, Daigo embracing the small creature (his name was Yank-Yank? Yuk-Yuk? Daigo couldn’t remember) a foot or two off the ground. The two wouldn’t break their kiss until Daigo felt a small, pricking sensation at his back and turned around in agitation to face whoever was trying to get his attention.
He let the kobold drop out of his arms and began to try and stammer out something, anything. There, behind him, stood Kazumi, watching her husband make out with a kobold in stunned silence. The kobold pushed itself up off the floor and opened its mouth, as if to say something to the intruder. Instead, it leaned against the counter and, slowly sliding down it to sit on the floor, fell asleep.
“K…Kazumi…I…” Daigo attempted to say, to give some explanation for what Kazumi was seeing. He felt his heart sink as Kazumi turned from him and walked out of the bar. He resisted the urge to punch himself in the head for possibly screwing up the one good thing that had happened to him in a long, long time, and, instead, ran after his wife into the streets of the city. Jogging up beside her, he stammered out, “I…Kazumi, you see, I didn’t mean…”
Kazumi stopped walking and, for a minute, her body began shaking. Daigo could feel a lump forming in his throat, waiting for the woman to tell him off, to yell at him for his insensitivity. He was utterly taken aback when she turned to him, pointing directly into his face, and laughing. “You….you should have seen…” Kazumi managed out between peals of laughter, ultimately giving up on trying to form a sentence. She placed a hand on her husband’s shoulder to keep herself standing as she laughed hysterically.
Standing in shock for a moment, Daigo choked out, “You’re…you’re not mad?”
Wiping her eyes as she calmed herself down, Kazumi replied, “It was your bachelor party, Daigo. I knew the kind of things that could go on during something like that. I do have to admit…I never really saw the whole making out with a kobold thing coming, though. I mean, you should have…you should…” She bit her lower lip to try and keep herself from bursting out in laughter anew, and failed, leaving her husband to simply watch his wife laugh for nearly fifteen minutes on end in the deserted streets.
Daigo would have no memory of the night of his bachelor party, and was perplexed how, whenever he would forget something, his wife would ask with a smirk if he had been kissing kobolds.