Lone didn't find the wooden halls he was travelling through to be familiar to him, but he was fairly confident he could fine Eolande easily enough. 'Really, she has so much mana. Far more than that 'Astera' Goddess person. I guess this is the cottage in the Glade that we saw earlier? Hmm, it's far larger inside than it was outside. Same with the workshop. Is this thanks to Eolande's nature alteration? Perhaps she knows space magic... hrmm... '
While Lone was lost in thought, Sophie was also pondering over several matters while she gently held Lone's left hand. 'I can't believe I froze up like that. That Lizard person was weaker than me I think... So I really can't deal with bad situations involving people if they aren't directly after my life? This is terrible! Lone could have died thanks to me! And Breena! I... I thought I'd changed... '
Sophie's sour mood didn't escape Lone's notice, and it obviously upset him since he cared about Sophie almost as much as he cared about himself, which said a lot.
Lone stopped walking and pulled Sophie around with a tug of his hand to make her face him head on. Her face was still a bit sullen, but she now looked a Lone in an ashamed manner and lowered her eyes a little. Lone lightly grabbed her chin with his right hand and raised it so he could look directing into her beautiful emerald-green eyes.
Sophie's mouth opened slightly, and she tried to speak a word or two to explain her mood, but she soon found herself unable to, thanks to a tongue quickly occupying her small mouth. Shock oozed out of her eyes before she weakly fell into Lone's embrace. 'Mmmmm... how is he so good at kissing even though I'm the only person he's ever kissed? Ha-ah. He has almost no social skills and is intolerable at the best of times, but he knows exactly how to brighten my mood... besides... he rarely kisses me like this in my younger form.'
After a few seconds of the two sharing each other's warmth, their lips parted, and Lone took the opportunity to speak. "I have no idea what's got you in a bad mood, but..uh... stop it? Er... that was wrong. Why are you upset?"
Sophie couldn't help but smile at Lone's awkwardness at the subject. She hadn't even told her why she was depressed, and he had already almost completely cheered her up. "I'm just disappointed in myself."
"Why?" came Lone's immediate response.
"The Lizard person shopkeeper," Sophie simply said. She gestured for Lone to hand her a tail or seven, which he did. Fluffiness now in hand, Sophie continued, "I just can't believe I froze up like that. I knew that I was stronger than them, and I knew they were trying to steal from me, but... but I just froze. Lone, I thought I'd changed... but... but nothing's changed... I'm still so weak..."
Sophie's mood had clearly worsened again upon her verbalization of her thoughts.
Lone looked at Sophie with pity clear in his eyes. However, his pity wasn't for her feelings, but for how she was looking at the situation. "Was the marketplace busy?" he asked.
"Huh? Eh, uh, yeah, I think it was?" Sophie replied to Lone's unexpected question.
Lone nodded, then continued, "Was it full of people you didn't know?"
Sophie's eyes widened in realisation. It would seem that she had figured out where Lone was going with this string of questions.
"Exactly. You can be a real idiot sometimes," Lone had said with a smile before he lightly kissed Sophie's forehead. "The Sophie from two months ago struggled to walk in Milindo's capital even with me by your side, but you had no problem earlier with Breena," Lone said before he pulled Sophie back into his embrace, hugging the girl.
"That's already amazing progress," Lone whispered, "Just keep trying your best to overcome your trauma. Now that you've experienced a situation like this once, surely it'll be easier a second, third or fourth time?"
"Mmm," Sophie nodded her head in agreement while she hugged Lone tightly. He was right, and she was stupid for not realising it. "Wait," she said, "If you knew all of that... why'd you kiss me?" 'Not that I hated it or anything... but... did it have to be so passionate?'
Lone's face took on a guilty expression before he replied. "Cause I wanted to?"
"Huh?" Sophie replied in confusion. 'He didn't kiss me to cheer me up?"
"Ah, well, I knew it'd make you happy, and I just wanted to. You do know that you are exceedingly beautiful, right? So, two birds with one stone," Lone had explained. Sophie could do nothing but blush in response.
After a few moments more of silence and hugging, Lone separated himself from the most important person in his life and took her hand again. "Well, now that that's out of the way. Let's go talk to Eolande, then maybe we'll go shopping? Just the two of us?" Lone asked in a quiet but playful tone.
"I'd like that," was Sophie's reply. A nice date was certainly in order since it had been quite some time since their last, which would have been during a rest Lone was given while he was training with the spearmaster, Zeek.
After that, the two continued walking through the branch covered hallways and eventually found a door that held a huge amount of mana behind it. "I think Eolande is in here," Lone said.
Lone knocked on the door and received no reply, so after waiting for a few minutes and trying to knock some more, Lone cautiously opened the door. What he and Sophie saw was the three-foot tall Tylwyth Teg sleeping in a small bed fit for her size. She was wearing a cute one piece set of pyjamas that were violet-coloured like her hair and eyes.
"Oh, right, what time is it, Breena?" Lone asked the Foxkin residing within his shadow.
"It's roughly midnight, Master," Breena replied clearly. This was something that that Sophie and Breena had discovered. Speaking through the shadows was no problem what-so-ever, oddly enough. Lone felt like he needed to learn more about magic as soon as possible since it seemed like almost anything could be accomplished with the right application of it.
Lone quickly noticed a sofa in the room. It was a bit small, but he decided to sit on it and wait for Eolande to wake up.
He and his group did what they normally do in such situations, trained. Breena was off in a corner, as usual, trying to manipulate the shadows in one way or the other. Sophie was sitting next to Lone on the small couch practising her mana sensing. Lone was creating swords with his Mana Creation Skill and trying his best to enchant them.
Obviously, though, the most hard working one was Kyuubi. She was training in the art of sleeping. Such an art is easy to do, but hard to master unless trained to the pinnacle, which was quite clearly what Kyuubi was trying to do as she slept on Lone's head.
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