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A note from SN7

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"Hey," Eina said, "Can I ask you something?

I stopped cleaning my dirty fingernails and looked at her, "Yes?"

"It's about what you said earlier, the worth of life." She quietly said, "What if someone is a murderer?"

Squinting my eyes, I asked, "Well, are you?"

"No!" Eina hurriedly replied, waving her arms energetically.

Looking at the path ahead of us, I said, "I don't know yet."

"What if you had to kill someone to save many lives?" Eina asked.

"I don't know. I've never killed anyone," Pausing for a moment, I thought about Ash and added, "At least I don't think it was a person."

"You- Forget it." Eina said, shuddering, she changed the topic, "Why are we walking alongside the forest and not through it?"

"Big creatures can hide in the forest, we didn't see that rock thing until it was too late." I pointed at the rocks to our left, "If something attacks us from there we can hide into the forest."

Eina muttered, "I didn't think about that."

"That's why I am leading," I said to her, returning to cleaning my fingernails.

The charred flesh from before was disgusting, just the feeling of something being under my neatly cut nails was driving me crazy. I heard a little crack from Eina's direction and turned around to her handing me a little glass pick.

"Use this," she said.

"Thanks," I said and took the pick, it turned out to be really useful.

Walking by my side, Eina asked, "You don't like being dirty, right?"

Frowning, I replied with a question, "What do you mean?"

"Every time after practice, the first thing you do is wash your hands and rush to the dormitory. Even in our current situation, you keep cleaning your hands," Eina noticed, pointing at my palms.

"Yes, I don't like it. Anything else?" I snapped at her.

She made a wronged expression and rolled her eyes, "Sorry for trying to talk with you."

I didn't bother replying, focusing on my nails and the road ahead instead.

Soon, we started to walk downhill and the forest transformed into sparsely growing trees. The lower we descended, the fewer plants there were, except for a blotch of green in the distance. This was extremely eye-catching because the other plants were either blue or purple, I decided to head there.

"Argent, did you notice something weird about this world?" I asked Eina, extending my hand to help her climb onto a tall rock.

She huffed and climbed up before replying, "These goddamn rocks? Or the sky?"

Pursing my lips, I replied, "Animals."

Startled, Eina let go of my hand and said, "You're right, other than the thing from before, there is none."

Biting my lip, I thought out loud, "What if this 'friend' of yours is growing them there?"

"Oh no." Eina said, grabbing her hair, "If those are his pets..."

"We might have to kill more of them in self-defense," I finished for her.

She squeaked and sat on the rock, taking a deep breath she muttered, "Breaking in, illegal teleportation, destroying other students experiment." She looked at me in despair and squeezed out, "I really will be expelled."

"Don't forget throwing me into this world," I added, raising my finger.

Eina buried her face in her palms and started shaking, she looked pitiful but I thought that it was something she deserved. I was about to tease her again but her wailing startled me, she didn't even try to hide it. Clenching my jaw, I sat opposite her and closely observed if she was faking it to gain my sympathy or if it was a genuine breakdown.

Sniffling, she squeezed out, "I-I can't get expelled."

I snorted and said, "With your talent, I am sure other academies would receive you."

Eina raised her head to look at me, she didn't look like she was faking it, "You don't understand."

"Then explain, I told you why I saved you, tell me what I don't understand," I replied, reclining on the rock, luckily, it was smooth and had no jagged edges.

"You thought I was joking when I said that my father would kill me?" Eina said, violently shaking and pulling on her hair.

Cringing, I leaned in and grabbed her arms, "Stop that!"

She tried to break free, even kicking me and trying to cast a spell, my heart whistled a distressed note when her fingers lit up, alas, nothing happened. Now I knew that she wasn't faking it, Eina's Essence didn't even want to transform into her glass element because of her current emotional state.

Letting go of her arms, I reclined again, eyeing her. "Why would your own father kill you? Don't speak nonsense."

"Because," She squeezed out, heaving. "Because he hates me. Happy now?"

Raising my eyebrows, I commented, "Pathological family, that would explain your behavior."

"What?" She asked in a small confused tone.

Sighing, I replied, "I thought you are just a bitch from birth but now I understand you a bit more. You are just lashing out because of daddy issues." Standing up, I extended my hand to her and said, "Let's go."

Eina shakily grabbed my arm and I helped her up. If she wasn't such a toxic person in the past I would probably offer her some actual emotional support, at the moment, I believed that it was just well-deserved comeuppance. As for her father being abusive, I didn't know enough to believe her.

We spent rest of the trek in silence, I slowed down a bit to give Eina time to calm down, her magic was an important asset. She soon stopped sobbing and clenched her fists, stealing glances at me and opening mouth as if she wanted to say something.

"There it is," I said to Eina, pointing at the ravine in front of us.

It was a small paradise, complete with lush greenery, a little pond and a waterfall falling into it. The waterfall came out from a crack in the rocky walls of the ravine, it even steamed as if it were hot. This sight awakened my intense urge to take a shower, oh yes, I would quite certainly abuse this waterfall to fulfill my dark ambitions.

"It's beautiful," Eina muttered, walking up to me.

"The plants look normal as well," I said and poked her with an elbow, "We will stay there but get ready, I have a feeling it's already occupied."

"How would you know that?" She asked me, scanning the ravine one more time.

Chuckling, I pointed at a cave in the opposite end, "Look at that cave, there's tons of shit in front."

Eina shot me a disgusted gaze but she agreed, "You really know what you are doing."

"Not at all, I am improvising," I said and started to dig in my bag of holding.

"What will you pull out this time?" Her eyes fixed on my bag.

I pulled out four black tubes and gave her two of them, each tube was no thicker than my forearm and thrice as long.

[Fire Grenade, An achievement of alchemy designed to explode three seconds after being twisted. Contains highly explosive substance that burns up rapidly, kills with a strong shockwave, recommended using it outside. Effect: Deal high AOE fire and physical damage. Weight: 1kg.]

"This is?" Eina asked me, curiously poking the tubes.

"Highly explosive grenade, twist it and it will explode in three seconds," I said, digging back into my bag of holding.

This time I took out two regular spears, nothing fancy as I planned to lend one to Eina.

She shook her head in disbelief and said, "This must be the deepest bag of holding I have ever seen."

"Probably," I said, giving her the spear. "The plan is simple, we twist the Fire Grenades and throw them into the cave. You will make sharp glass spikes pointing at the cave and we will finish whatever comes out with the spears."

"That's... Ok." Eina said, nodding her head. "You can't cast proper spells yet, right?"

"I can't, sometimes it works and sometimes doesn't. Too risky at the moment, stand close I will buff us." I said and pulled out a stack of scrolls.

One [Mass Shield], one [Clarity], two [Greater Physical Boon] and two [Greater Magical Boon] and lastly, [Greater Mass Silence].

Eina's eyes went wide, "How rich are you?!"

"Very. These two you need to use yourself, they only last a minute so we will use them just before engaging," I said, handing her [Greater Physical Boon] and [Greater Magical Boon].

Eina traced her collar and put them into the hood that popped out, she had nowhere else to store them at the moment. I tore [Greater Mass Silence] scroll and a little puff of smoke jumped out, it wove around us and transformed into a grayish thin film closely sticking to our bodies.

I tried to tell Eina how it worked but no sound came out, laughing in silence, I poked at my mouth to make her understand what was going on.

She quickly caught on and nodded her head so I signaled her with my arm and we jumped into the ravine, dashing toward the cave. [Greater Mass Silence] worked only for three minutes and the ravine was pretty long, I made sure that we reached it in time.

On my signal, we both used the other scrolls while standing shoulder to shoulder. With [Clarity] in effect I realized something important, I didn't even know if anything was in the cave at the moment. Grimacing, I ignored it and just decided to throw the Fire Grenades in, hoping for the best.

Eina started to create the spikes after we threw the bombs, her focus was broken by the powerful explosions but she quickly regained her composure, creating spike after spike. The rumble jolted my body, if not for [Clarity] I would be having a panic attack, gritting my teeth, I pointed the spear at the cave, waiting.

Sure enough, a second or two later something flew from within, wildly thrashing around and spilling bluish glowing blood everywhere. Before I could get a good look at it, it rushed into Eina's spikes and impaled itself. We jumped the thing and started wildly stabbing it, Eina coated her spear with additional glass that broke upon impact, leaving the creature with terrible wounds.

Everything happened in terrifying silence, the only sounds that entered my ears were of leather being pierced, the blood splashing onto the ground and our ragged breaths. The creature's maw was open at all times but no sound came out even when it was quivering in the throes of death.

Fast, efficient and safe, it was perfect execution.

Eina was still madly stabbing into its dead body, she didn't even notice it has already died, nor did she notice that the scrolls effects wore off. Huffing, I grabbed her by the waist and pulled her away.

"It's dead, calm down," I squeezed out with my ragged breath.

Eina's body shook and she let go of the spear, looking at the disgusting glowing blood that was splashed everywhere, including on us. Her knees were giving out, so were mine but I propped her up anyway and glanced at the creature. Only now I realized what it was, a roughly cow sized bat, very furry and very ugly.

This blood gave me an idea.

"Last thing, Argent. Cover it in the glass, we will need that blood later," I ordered Eina.

She shakily nodded her head and started encasing the bat in the glass, she almost collapsed on me after doing it, her stomach was contracting as if she were to vomit at any moment. I half dragged her away and we plopped down onto a patch of green grass away from the cave, I patted her back and tried to calm myself.

"Good job, good job. We killed another pet of your friend," I said to her, half-jokingly.

This turned out to not be the best idea, Eina yelped and just collapsed, crying without any reservations. This was an awkward situation, I didn't really want to comfort her more than I already did, Eina must have realized because she crawled away and curled on the ground, shaking and whimpering.

The fact that this was the same person that tried to beat me up on numerous occasions was weirding me out, an overly arrogant and prideful girl was just lying down and quivering. Recalling what Lili did for me, I gritted my teeth and walked up to her.

I knew what Eina felt, at least I believed that I did, it was almost like I was looking at the projection of myself from a week or so ago. I kneeled next to her and nervously tried to caress her hair, she jumped up and crawled away, her reddened eyes fixed on me.

"I don't want pity, not from you" She hissed out through clenched teeth.

Shaking my head, I stood up and said, "As you wish. I am going to clean myself under this waterfall, join me if you care."

This really made me believe that I was too good-hearted for my own good, I should have just let Eina suffer on her own. I took my shoes off and dipped my toes in the pond, it was slightly warm but not overly hot, the volcanic activity around must have heated it up. Speaking of which, there was a hot air vent nearby that coincidentally tied with my idea about the bat's blood, I would get to it later.

I stripped and only fastened my bag of holding to a belt around my hips, Eina couldn't open it either way but I didn't want her to run off with it. I undid my hair and jumped into the pond, quite literally shivering from pleasure, that was exactly what I needed so I swam around for a while before climbing up to the waterfall.

The rumbling water couldn't drown out Eina's shriek, "You are naked!"

Covering my lady parts, I turned to look at her and said, "That's how people bathe, are you doing it differently?"

Red-faced, she turned around and sat on a rock, her back to me, shrugging to myself, I went back to properly scrub my body using a makeshift sponge. This time I even had soap, I made sure to buy some in supplies kiosk at the academy and hoard it for situations like these.

After wiping myself, I threw on a shirt and only buttoned up a couple of buttons above my chest, after pulling on pants I walked up to Eina. She jumped up when I sat next to her, I could see her eyes focus on my exposed stomach before hurriedly shifting away.

"No wonder I couldn't get free. Are you grating cheese on these abs?" She asked with a pout.

"Yeah, want some?" I asked back, stretching and patting her back. "Your turn."

Eina stiffened up and said, "Don't look."

"I will, you can't stop me," I said to her, smiling mischievously.

"You don't understand." She repeated it again, "I am not washing then, I don't even have spare clothes and yours are too small."

"Strip, I'll wash them for you, take this soap too," I said pulling on her jacket.

Annoyed, Eina jumped back and shot me a venomous glare. "You want to see so bad?! All right!"

Before I could say that I was only teasing her, she pulled off the jacket and her shirt, only her bra was left. Normally, I would admire the eye candy but I couldn't, I sprang up to my feet with an open mouth and stared at her body.

Scars, as if from whip strikes covered her entire upper torso.

"I told you my father hates me," She hissed out, struggling with her pants.

"This is ridiculous! Why didn't you heal them?!" I asked her, grabbing my head in disbelief.

"You think I didn't try?! The whip was enchanted, he only avoided my face and arms!" Eina shook, throwing her clothes to me.

I automatically grabbed them, staring at the extensive scarring covering her body, it was sickening, I felt my legs grow weak.

"Disgusted?! Good!" Eina shouted, her voice cracking up.

She stormed past me and walked under the waterfall, she didn't take off her underwear but I wasn't in the mood to tease her about it, I wasn't in any mood at all at the moment. Without looking at her, I took out a dry towel and left it for her on the rock, then I absentmindedly went to wash her clothes.

With some soap and physical persuasion, I managed to get the disgusting glowing blood off her uniform, I summoned another fireplace and neatly laid out her clothes near it to let them dry. Eina soon returned, with the towel wrapped around her body.

She had a fantastic figure but I couldn't care less about it at the moment, only her arms and everything above collar bones had regular smooth skin, her naked legs were completely covered in long scars, not as bad as her back though. She sat down next to me and threw her underwear near the fire.

We sat like this in silence, drying and thinking.

 

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SN7

  • Poland

Bio: It hurts to live.

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