It would be an insult to Braden to claim that he'd been surprised when a man walked right up to him. There was only one word that he could think of to describe this man, and it was 'gross'. There was no real reason that Braden could think of to say such a thing about a man he's just met, but the smile looked a little too forced for Braden's taste, and, judging by the hope that gleamed in the man's eyes, he seemed to be expecting something. Even though Braden hadn't been shocked, he hadn't been expecting it either. What the gross man wanted, Braden couldn't tell, but he did not particularly like the idea of waiting for the man to ask. Maybe if he could excuse himself before the man spoke, he could avoid the man's next statement.
Just as Braden was about to stand up, the man chirped, "Hello!" So much for just avoiding the man, did Braden look like the type that you could just shout a friendly greeting at? Perhaps the man thought Braden would respond in kind, but instead Braden's temper flared.
"What?" Braden snapped. The look in his eyes could only be described with one word, murderous. This caused the eagerness on the disgusting man's face to fall. The temper Braden held could only be compared to a dragon's, but he looked human enough. With golden curls cropped off at the ears and baby blue eyes, the man would almost dare to say that Braden looked innocent. Judging by the look in Braden's eyes, he just realized how wrong he was. The sleazy man would later reprimand himself for thinking such a thing. Anyone would could complete a quest and was about to depart on such a journey had to be far from innocent.
Stepping back a bit, the man put on another fake smile and said, "You shouldn't go on such a quest alone! I understand that you are beginning the journey to complete the quests of the gods?" With a glare, Braden let out a deep growl. So the man had been following him. To say the truth, Braden had seen the man once or twice, but he had never thought that someone as bad at hiding as this man was would have the courage to follow him for any length of time. None of that mattered now. If he could leave now, maybe he could avoid ripping this man to shreds.
"Wait!" The man shouted and grabbed Braden's arm, which caused Braden to growl again. "I haven't even finished yet! I'd hate to see a charming young gentleman like you begin a long trek such as this on your own! I'm sure that you wouldn't want to go on your own either, so I figured you could guard my caravan while we went to the court of Ortak, the guard of Partnership. If you decide to make this trip with us, a week will be knocked off of your long journey! On top of that, we can provide great meals, warmth, and companionship!"
"Not interested." Braden shrugged the man's grimy hand off of him and tried to leave again. The whole speech the man gave sounded too practiced for Braden's liking, and he couldn't trust anyone that had to practice what he was going to say before making a deal. That just showed that he was hiding something, no matter how small. His escape attempt had no luck, for the man grabbed him again. He had half the mind to grab the man's hand and break his wrist just to show the man not to mess with him, but the man interrupted his thoughts.
"Would you deny a pleasant man like me such a courtesy, even after you hear that there's a girl making the same dangerous journey that you are? She will be joining us, and maybe you two could be friends?" The gross man doubted that someone with Braden's temper could befriend anyone, especially not someone as creepy as the lady from earlier, but he hoped he would buy it anyways. The look that crossed Braden's face showed otherwise.
A glance over Braden showed that he was tense. His rigid posture seemed to make the word 'tense' seem to be like an understatement. Blood was dripping on the ground from Braden's clenched fist. It jut goes to show how much he was reeling in his temper. The other hand was clenching and unclenching to reveal, claws? That seemed to frighten and confuse the man simultaneously. He hadn't noticed Braden's claws before, but maybe they hadn't always been there? Either way, the man did not want to see what Braden would do if upset anymore. He only wanted his free guard. He met Braden's gaze, only to be shocked more. The baby blue eyes seemed to almost glow from behind Braden's loose golden curls. It was hard for the gross man to hold Braden's piercing gaze.
"What about the guards patrolling the the borders? You know that they'll rob you of every bit of gold you have. You look like a wise man, so I know you understand that it would be easier to go in a group such as my own." The slimy man tried to appear cheerful once more, but it was getting less and less believable with each fake smile. The thought of striking such fear into the man's heart made Braden smirk, regardless of how easy it was.
He didn't want to admit it, but the man had a point. There was only one thing to do, accept the gross man's offer or delay his journey even further in hopes of finding a more favorable group to join, which probably wouldn't happen. "Fine."
That one word perked the man right up, and he scampered off in fear of getting hurt as he shouted behind him, "That's great! Meet us by the west gate at dawn in two days!"
Now that the sickening man was out of site, Braden brought his bag back into his place. It seemed hat he wouldn't be leaving as soon as he had originally planned. By the time he was home, his appearance had gone back to normal and his claws were no longer there. Once he had made it inside, he released his temper and punched the wall a few times, though not with his full strength, to release the last bit of his temper.