I couldn't stop myself from looking at Eina's legs, not because of their great shape but because of the scars, I counted more than forty of them and I wasn't anywhere close to finishing.
Eina must have noticed, in a small voice she said, "Let me save you some effort, ninety-three on both."
"Sick. Your father is insane," I squeezed out, clenching my fists.
Eina gave me a side eye and supported her chin on her hands. "This is weird."
"What is?" I asked her.
"This situation. I've never shown this to anyone, I got upset and now you know," She quivered, "I can see how disgusted you are, let me cover it." She said, reaching for her clothes.
I grabbed Eina's hand and said, "Yes, I am disgusted. But not with your body."
She shook under my touch and muttered, "You are lying."
"I am disgusted with your father. If you can even call him that," I said, squeezing her arm.
Taking a deep breath, Eina retracted her hand and I let it go, she looked at me hesitantly. "You don't understand," she said.
Sighing, I said, "I don't. I don't expect you to explain it either." Taking a shaky breath, I continued, "I just want you to know that you can't just keep it in, once you reach your breaking point; you will collapse."
"And how would you know?" Eina asked me softly, her eyes crossed with mine.
"Because, because I am doing the same," I squeezed out.
Eina frowned and looked at me, "I don't see any scars on your body, stop lying."
"Lying?! Then listen!" I shouted out, jumping to my feet.
Before Eina could react, I pulled her head to my chest, her ear to my heart. She tried to free herself but the whistling must have reached her ears, her body went limp and she just listened to my oscillating heart humming an excited tune.
I let her go and sat back down, "I don't have a heart anymore, just this," I mumbled pointing at my chest.
Pale-faced, Eina asked me, "Your father?"
Shaking my head, I fixed my eyes on the fire and said, "No. I am not saying our situation is the same, I am saying we are both high strung, ready to snap at any moment."
Realization dawned on her as she asked, "Then in the dungeon...?"
"Loud sounds. Especially thunder and lightning," I replied, playing with my fingers.
"Don't you have a lightning element?" Eina asked me, her voice shaky.
Chuckling, I looked at her distressed face and said, "Yup, I get a panic attack every time."
"And you laugh at yourself? This is terrible!" She replied, unsure what to look at.
"Better than self-loathing, I am much better now. Lili helped me let some of the frustration out, that's what friends are for, maybe you will understand that one day." I said, sighing and reaching into my bag of holding.
Eina gave me a deep look and didn't reply, she looked to be mulling over something, biting on her lip and shuffling on the rock. I pulled out several sheets of cloth and a roll of thick thread, there was an only little problem, I didn't have a needle.
"Could you make me a needle, please?" I asked Eina.
Jolted by my voice, she absentmindedly nodded her head and summoned a thick needle, I thanked her and stood up, laying out the cloth into a larger square, roughly four by four meters. Smacking my lips in approval, I started sewing them together under Eina's stunned gaze.
"You are making a tent?" She asked.
Looking over my arm, I replied, "I have a tent, you will see it later. This," I pointed at the cloth, "will be our signal."
"You want to use it as a flag?" Eina asked, some hope in her voice.
Laughing, I replied, "Not exactly, see that hot air vent over there? This thing will float above it, that's how hot air balloons work." I pointed at the cave and said, "I will make another smaller but long piece that will hang under this kite as a message. The glowing blood is perfect for this."
"Let me help you," Eina said, standing up.
"Rest, you will need to help with other things. I don't know Oulic for one," I explained.
"What?" Eina asked, taken aback and plopping back onto the ground, "Then the glasses...?"
I nodded my head, focusing on my task.
My sewing was sloppy but I made sure to use as much thread as necessary to make it strong. After doing this, I took out more thread and instructed Eina what to do. We braided the thread into four sets of really long ropes, I've tested them with my full strength and nodded in satisfaction when they didn't snap.
I shot a cursory glance at Eina and smirked, "Are you going to stay in the towel all day? I don't mind, by the way."
Embarrassed, she stood up and picked up her long dry clothes. Pouting she asked, "Scars excite you?"
"Ignoring the scars, you are like a total eight out of ten." I said, tracing her figure in the air, "There is still a lot to look at."
She frowned and after a cursory glance at her body, asked, "Eight out of ten? Then who is ten?"
Smirking, I pointed at myself, "Yours truly."
Eina scowled at me and stormed off to get clothed up, giggling to myself, I escorted her nice behind with my eyes before going back to constructing my kite-balloon hybrid. After returning, she knelt next to me and helped me faster the ropes, all of it without exchanging a word, I let her finish that task and made a makeshift flag myself.
"Alright, now you only need to write a message on this," I said to Eina, giving her my creation.
"Okay," She muttered, receiving the cloth and going towards the cave.
The air vent had a lot of jagged rocks surrounding it, attaching the kite was pretty simple, Eina soon joined me and we attached the flag to the rope. We struggled with the kite for a while before getting it to a stable position, it floated high above the ravine, very visible. The message was just a simple "Here!" repeated a few times.
Clapping my hands, I said to Eina, "Good job, now we wait."
"You said you have a tent?" Eina asked me.
"What, are you tired? Let's find a good place for it then," I replied and we climbed down into the ravine.
She quietly followed behind me and I set up the enormous tent in an empty place, away from the waterfall to avoid the noise. Eina's eyes went wide when the two-story tent appeared out of nowhere, she dashed into it and out, looking at me in disbelief.
"This is much better than our rooms at the academy!" She exclaimed in excitement.
"There is no bathroom, so not really," I shrugged and added, "The king size bed on the first floor is mine, take any of the other ones."
Eina nodded her head and asked me, "Can we talk?"
"Aren't we talking right now?" I asked, sighing.
Eina bit her lip and walked into the tent, beckoning me with her hand, rolling my eyes I followed behind and we sat opposite of each other. I reclined in my seat and eyed her down, she shuffled on the sofa and dodged my eyes, it was awkwardly silent.
"I thought about what you said before," Eina finally said, "About letting it out. Will you listen to me?"
Getting serious, I replied, "We are not even friends so why me?"
She looked to the side before saying, "I know that you hate me." She clenched her jaw and squeezed out, "And that I was a bitch. I want to start again, genuinely, please."
Raising my eyebrows, I pretended to be deep in thought while scrutinizing Eina's reactions, her face, especially her eyes, told me everything I wanted to know.
I leaned in and extended my arm, I said, "My previous requirement still stands, you will have to apologize."
Excited, she cupped my hand with hers and said, "I will! I am really sorry, to you as well."
Taken aback by her sudden outburst, I awkwardly freed my hand and said, "Alright, I accept. You sound genuine enough."
Eina took a deep breath to compose herself and said, "Thank you, this is my only chance after all."
"Hm?" I squinted my eyes.
She looked down and said, "I am getting expelled." In a small voice, almost inaudibly, she added, "I wanted to talk about this with someone. Before dying."
"You won't die but let's forget about that for a moment. Why did your father beat you?" I asked her
Counseling with Marie was now officially in the process, as ironic as it sounded.
Shaking, she replied, "Because he hates me."
"Because I killed my mother." She whispered.
A shudder ran through my back, I leaned in and softly asked, "How?"
Eina was quivering, tears gathering in the corners of her eyes, she replied, "When I was born. During childbirth."
Heaving a sigh of relief, I said, "You didn't kill her then, it was a complication after birth, things like this happen all the time, sometimes not even modern med-magic can help."
Confused, Eina mumbled, "But he keeps saying I killed her."
"The same person who tortures his own daughter?" I asked in disbelief, shaking my head. "He must have gone crazy, that's the only explanation."
The longer this conversation carried on, the more anger welled up in my guts, this was a simply unreal situation. First Aren and his sister, now Eina and her father, I really wanted to know what was wrong with the noble families in this world.
Crying, Eina heaved, "Any mistake, I would get hit once. First with hand, then he brought this whip. You've seen the results."
Sighing at myself, I stood up and crouched next to the sofa, wiping Eina's face. She shuddered under my touch but didn't do anything to stop me, her eyes were muddled with confusion.
When I was done, I stood up and said, "Go rest. I am going to practice near the waterfall."
Eina nodded her head, I couldn't tell what she was thinking.
I left the tent and climbed a spot near the waterfall, it was breezy and the rocks were a bit chilly, satisfied, I sat cross-legged and intertwined fingers with toes, holding one hand up. Lili told me it was weird but I found it really relaxing and well, I liked it, for reasons.
Closing my eyes, I started to calmly gather some Essence into my fingertips, sure enough, the familiar feeling of warmth blossoming on my fingertips made me smile. Opening my eyes, I focused on several motes of light circling my fingers. Under my will, they slowly merged into a bigger one and then morphed into a very simplistic flower.
Smacking my lips in approval, I tried to separate them again but the light crackled and transformed into lightning. Startled, I cussed and shook my hand, the magic dissipating into the air. Sighing, I closed my eyes once more and tried again, and then again.
"It's only been a week or so and you can already transform it?" A soft voice asked from behind.
Startled, the light flower exploded in my hands and turned into sparkles that turned to nothing. I looked over my shoulder, Eina was sitting on a nearby rock, resting her chin on her hands and staring at me.
"How long were you there?" I asked, looking at the dusky skies.
"A while," She replied and pointed at my foot, "Why do you do that?"
Puffing my cheeks, I said, "Because I like how it feels."
Of course, I instantly unraveled my fingers and toes, one person telling me it was weird was more than enough. My legs were numb from sitting in the same position for hours so I stood up to stretch, I was done with my practice anyway.
I looked at Eina and with a yawn, asked, "Feeling better now?"
"Glad to hear that," I casually said, sitting next to her. "Do you hate your father?"
She stiffened up and replied, "Maybe."
I gave her a long glance before asking, "And yourself?"
Eina shook and didn't reply, she suddenly found the waterfall incredibly interesting.
Rolling my eyes, I said, "Don't, it will only get worse if you do. Let's change the topic."
"Alright," Eina agreed, slightly relaxing.
Now, I wasn't sure what girls usually talked about so I had to improvise, "Uhh, what kind of boys do you like?"
"I don't know. I never cared about that, what about you?" Eina asked me, slightly pouting.
Trying to not sound awkward, I licked my lips and replied, "I've never seen one that could catch my interest."
She gave me a side eye and said, "Oh, interesting. I think I already know what you like."
"Do you? Keep that to yourself then," I said, jumping to my feet. "I am going to sleep."
"Wait," Eina also stood up. "Will you tell people?"
"About what?" I asked, frowning.
"My scars." She squeezed out.
Shaking my head, I said, "No, I won't. Also, stop being so self-conscious, you are gorgeous. Good night."
Stunned, she murmured, "Good night."
After climbing down and grabbing the rest of my clothes from the fireplace, I went straight to bed but not before putting on pajamas. This entire situation was weird, only one day passed and I already didn't want to strangle Eina on the spot, actually, I didn't really hate her in the first place.
There was some friction between us in the past but she turned out to be a pretty sensible person, at least compared to how I saw her before. Her father was the problem, I initially thought that she was exaggerating but after seeing the scars I really believed that he could kill her.
"Unless..." I muttered to myself. "Yes."
Damn, I really had a soft little heart, or was it wakestone now?