2.Work

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Chrollo was not having a good time. The small house in the middle of seemingly no where produced a ridiculous amount of work.

Harvest young bamboo shoots, carve utensils, carry large heavy buckets of water from a nearby steam to the house. Just to make a simple basket he needed to find a fairly young stock of bamboo, down it, divide it, cut it into long strips, and finish weaving before they could dry.

Simple right? No! No it wasn't the woman wouldn't give him a break! Chrollo sighed, he was growing tired of chopping the seemingly endless supply of logs. Where did these logs even come from? All he could see for miles was bamboo.

He frowned, trying to remember the geography around the Taki region. She said they were in the Kusuo forest didn't she? He nodded to himself, yes, that seemed right.

From what he remembered the Taki region was a large rural country. It has closed borders, meaning it doesn't allow outsiders inside its borders, although it is included in the places in which the hunter license would give you access to.

Because of its closed borders policy Chrollo didn't know much about it, only vague information. The Taki region was not very advanced, it didn't outright ban industrial products and technology, unlike East Gorteau. However most technology was as good as useless in the country.

It was located north of the Federation of Ochima. He knew it was mostly forest, with small settlements all around, it had a few great cities which acted as trade centers. It was run by an emperor and frugal lords.

As for culture he knew a bit more, respect, spiritualism, and inner peace were large parts of the culture. alongside hard work, and hospitality.

He certainly understood hard work, he had been doing it the entire day. However, one thing he didn't understand was how what he was doing was a result of 'hospitality', last time he checked 'hospitality' did not mean forcing your guests to chop fire wood.

Finally finishing the last few logs he stood up to stretch. then he sat down on the ground, enjoying the moment of peace. Of course it simply had to be that moment that Azuma showed up.

Why do people always choose to show up right when you take a break?

Azuma gave be a frown of disapproval. "You shouldn't be slacking off." Chrollo dragged himself up, knowing it was useless to argue. That'd only get him harder chores.

If Chrollo didn't have his nen sealed he would've already left, but the woman wasn't willing to let him leave, and Chrollo couldn't fight her.

Even with his nen she may pose a challenge, she was well versed in blades, her reflexes were fast, and she had a deal of physical strength as well. Not to mention she had briefly used ten in their short exchange. So she did know nen.

However he had yet to see, or even gain any hints about what her nen ability was. Chrollo was sure she must be a transmuter, considering how much she hid, and how well she hid it.

"Follow me." Chrollo sighed.

"Right, Right..." He responded.

Much to his surprise Azuma led him in the house, and even more surprising, to a low table laden with small portions of food, they were giving off a heavenly smell.

Chrollo gave Azuma a questioning glance. "What am I supposed to do?" After working him to the the bone Chrollo kind of doubted she would just let him eat, not to mention there wasn't much food in the first place.

"Sit down and eat, what else? Surly you didn't think I would make you work, but no provide food and care?" She answered.

Chrollo decided it was probably for the best if he didn't answer that he had thought exactly that.

Azuma gently sat him down on a mat in front of the table."Thank you for the food." Chrollo practiced basic Taki manners.

Azuma chuckled. "I appreciate the sentiment, but you said the phase a bit to early." She informed him.

"Would you care to endow me with your knowledge?" Chrollo asked.

"Fair enough, that phase is supposed to be said after the meal, not at the beginning." She answered.

"I see, I'll keep that in mind." Chrollo stated "Aren't you gonna eat?" He asked.

"No, this meal is for you." Azuma answered. Chrollo felt a bit bad about it, but started eating anyway.

"Strip." Azuma asked with a perfectly straight face.

Chrollo nearly choked on his tea.

Azuma sent him a questioning look. "What's wrong? I need to change your bandages."Chrollo really wanted to shout at her, but he was able to keep the perfect poker face he had developed over the years.

"...Nothing, I just was a bit suprised p, that's all."Chrollo sighed.

"Okay? Well, never mind..." She responded.

Azuma lifted Chrollo's shirt off, and started to change his bandages, they had become dirty with all the work he did. Her delicate fingers brushing against his skin. Her soft movements sent tingling sensations up his spine. It was pleasant.

Dangerous.

Chrollo tensed. Getting attracted to a woman, even if it was only physical, was dangerous. He was the spiders head, being attracted to any individual is dangerous.

"Is there something wrong? You tensed." Azumaa questioned.

"No, I'm fine." Chrollo answered, none of his thoughts made their way into his tone.

-

Azuma didn't like it. She didn't like how stiff Chrollo was, and how much he was hiding. Perhaps it was the way he walked, always ready to fight at the drop of a dime, maybe it was how he always seemed to keep keep a sharp object nearby, or it might've been how his smile seemed just a little off.

Whatever it may be, Azuma knew he was still on full guard. She didn't like that. She wanted those under her hospitality to feel calm, happy, carefree although she supposed that was a little selfish. She couldn't simply force people to abandon their worries, although she could try alleviating them.

That day Azuma had assigned Chrollo a lot of work, hoping it might help him forget what was bothering him. After all, it always helped her. But it didn't seem to help Chrollo very much.

Azuma sighed, taking another bite if her precious cookie. She couldn't read the raven haired man. Throughout the entire day she knew him, he never seemed to break his mask. He didn't even slip anything during dinner.

Azuma glared at the empty plate. Her cookies was gone. Her precious cookie. She should've savoured it more. Well, that's another reason to visit market tomorrow. Azuma already had plans to go down to town, to fix the knife

Azuma sighed, well, it's more than a bit late, she should go to sleep.

***
Why are all my chapter ending so shitty?

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