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A note from dotturndot

I'm thinking of into a book-- an ebook. Though I do wonder how the formation and stuff works.. the first arc is about 70k words long and so is the second arc. So it's close to a full fledged novel? I'm sure it can't be conside a light novel despite the story being catered towards that niche of readers. I might need to think up some measures to market/ share my work-- or maybe I should just drop my idea on turning this into a book....

The sun rose from the horizon, light rays peeked into the room at dawn.

Ruth got up from bed, her lower eyelids were sore and red.

How much had she cried yesterday night? She didn't know.

She wiped the remnants of wet tears away.

Looking at the empty spot at the other side, Ruth wondered how Ellis felt, waking up to see Curtis still laying in bed each day. After contemplating a little, Ruth turned to look behind, at Ellis, who was sleeping in the same bed as her.

{They slept on the same bed together. In the sense, like sisters, that they should at least comfort each other. (Well—possible sister-in-law).}

Ruth didn't know Ellis' sleeping habit but she remembered that Ellis had been laying in that exact same position since yesterday. She hadn't moved at all, stiff as a log.

"Ellis."

"Do you think Curtis will be.." Ellis had been awake all this time, "alright?"

"I don't know, " Ruth could only be truthful about this. "We can only hope."

No matter how many tears she shed, that stiff, unsettling feeling would continue to persist. It tugged at her heart. And Ellis was probably feeling the worst of it.

'What comes around goes around.'

The tremendous luck Curtis possessed to find the new pillar cluster had been counterbalanced by being kidnapped.

It was a fair bargain. A misfortune for a fortune.

"What should we do now?" there wasn't any stuttering or stifling in Ellis' voice. It was calm, but lacking emotion.

"Let's get something to eat first," Ruth made a bitter smile. It wouldn't be good if they started self-harming. If Curtis did return alive, the last thing he would want was to see them in shrivelled condition. "Believe in big brother."

Ellis nodded, after which, she finally got up. She looked like a ghostly figure. Her hairs cascading down, blocking her face. Behind the veil, her eyes were swollen red, cast downwards.

Then when she raised her head to look at Ruth.

""Ow.""

They had their hairs tangled in a mess.

Rearranging their dishevelled hair, both of them gave each other a stiff smile and a light chuckle.

This much would help lighten up their mood at least.

 

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Ruth had been given an extra day off with prior notice. Croquel guild was good— too good in fact. Dean somehow grasped the gist of the situation, giving Ruth an off-day.

The usually clamorous cafeteria had become a serene eatery. By the time they got themselves ready, it was already late morning. Breakfast rush was just over. At the corner table they would usually sit, Ellis and Ruth, grazed on their meal, not really enjoying much of it at all.

"Mood affects taste so much, it should be considered illegal," the broth tasted like water, inciting Ruth to crack a joke. It was bad, for obvious reasons.

Ellis nodded.

The noise of a muffled pan dropping to the floor reverberated in the background. After that a yell, before silence ensued the cafeteria once more.

"Ruth, what do you think I should do?"

"Hm? What do you mean?"

"Um, that. I'm talking about what should I do because I couldn't protect.." she trailed off.

Ruth thought for a while. "Shouldn't that be the man's responsibility?" Ruth couldn't help but smirk a little at her word. Curtis did well didn't he?

'Actually, what happened back then?'

Ruth had yet to ask Ellis about the accurate events that occurred.

"..." There was a point in what Ruth said but, "I should also be responsible sometimes too right?", recalling Curtis who had been suffering from mana exertion.

"True..?" Ruth took another bite of noodles.

'Oh, it tastes better now? What? I forgot to stir?!'

Ruth dove her spoon under the bowl to pull up the seasoning that had yet to dissolve. A ruddy ball of mushed spices.

"This," holding it up to Ellis' face, "is illegal."

Ellis blinked a few times, not quite getting it. Ruth fell dejected. In any case, now she didn't need to worry about bad taste.

"Ruth, are you planning to become someone who can fight using magic?"

"I haven't decided on that yet," Curtis didn't pester Ruth to make a decision about this, it was her choice. However, learning such a skill could be helpful for her future, "I should really stop considering and just accept it," Ruth sighed, reminiscing the times Curtis taught her magic.

"It's not too late right?"

"No," Ruth could see the sympathy in Ellis' eyes, "It's not too late," A smile surfaced on Ruth's face.

"Morning. Long time no see," a third voice appeared.

Ellis was surprised, "Uh, Cody. Morning," it was one of Curtis' friends, and apt timing too--

"Just finished the voyage, dead tired, and so is my party," with his thumb pointed to the back, his party members nodded in agreement. A bunch of bobbleheads from Ellis' viewpoint.

Cody was an adventurer, 23 years old, the leader of a party of 6 including himself. 3 males and three females. A balanced arrangement, all of them had the physically enhanced talent. Quite commonplace as mages were seldom seen in part of any party.

"Where's Curtis?" Cody noticed. Ellis felt her heart sink.

The issue regarding Curtis being involved with the Jesters had to be kept a secret. Rumours could only do so much to hide the truth.

"Uh.. that," Ellis shifted her gaze away.

"Don't tell me," a coarse tone of another male adventurer interjected, David. "You two broke-- up?"

"Eh?" Ellis sounded so so dumb.

"Don't judge a book by its cover," Ruth raised her voice.

"So, where exact is Curtis?" Where there was Curtis, there was Ellis. For the first time ever, Cody was seeing Ellis, alone. Actually, she wasn't alone, she was eating with Curtis' sister. Though, didn't she have work today?

"He's out on a trip," Ruth tried to lie. Though she wasn't sure if it would be convincing enough.

"A voyage? Without Ellis?"

"You two broke up already right?" David drilled at Ellis with his eyes, a disgusting smile on his debonair face, "don't lie."

"David, stop that," Cody gave him a sideways glance.

"Sure. Sure," David waved it off as if used to such reprimanding, "Ellis, I'd be willing to accept you, even now, at this point of time you know?"

Ellis felt shudders run up her spine.

"Stop being rude."

"You want a beating?"

"Cut," seeing as his party was about to initiate a war on itself, Cody clapped his hands. "I don't mind if you won't tell me, but out of concern as a friend, what happened?"

David's facial expression hadn't changed, still holding on to that crooked smile.

He had been the person pestering Ellis to become his 'girlfriend' over the past year now. It happened time and time again. Absolutely shameless in his act, he even once laid his proposal out to Ellis in front of Curtis. Ever since then, Curtis would pull Ellis away wherever he saw David, making sure he was out of her sight. Not though they held grudges against each other. Nevertheless, David wasn't Cody, so making friends with the rest of his party wasn't a bad thing.

"Sorry, it's actually something we can't really talk about," Ruth replied instead.

"Then I won't ask too much of it," however curious Cody was, a friend had to be respected. Especially one with ridiculous magic talents.

"Ellis, I'll always be waiting, so if you change your mind, please let me know."

'Disgusting.'

This had to be the first time Ellis felt so powerless. Curtis would be the one to deal with him every time. Afterwards, he would comfort Ellis if she still felt frustrated.

'What if Curtis never came? What should I do then? What would..'

"Ellis." One of the female members in Cody's party called out.

Ellis didn't raise her head to face Hilda.

"We're sorry on behalf of him," Hilda's words were sincere. If it were not for David's incredible skill as a vanguard, Cody would've already been kicked out of the team. Moreover, David was for the most part, normal when interacting with other people. Just that when it came to Ellis, he would assert the form of a goldfish —being absolutely nuts.

They went to sit at a table on the far end of the cafeteria.

'What would happen to me if Curtis never came back?'

Ellis' vision started to blur-- she was crying. stifling sounds mixed in between while her hands kept wiping the tears falling from her eyes.

Ruth herself was crestfallen, unable to pull herself together to comfort Ellis.

"MOORNING," Tia inserted her head in between the two. Her voice contained a hint of irritation mixed into it, and an unusual frown plastered on her face. "Are you finished with your meal yet— I need you two to come with me."

Tia hadn't expected that Ellis wouldn't come to Sid's forge. It was almost noon. She had been waiting for hours, sitting on the same stool present behind the counter, staring at the door, waiting for it to explode with Ellis fuming in frustration. Whenever a shadow loomed by, Tia would raise her head in expectation. But, no matter how long she waited.... Ellis just wasn't going to come was she?

The night before, Tia sent a message of her own to confirm her suspicion, and it turned out to be correct. Correct in the sense that it wasn't good news at all...

Was Hermit really as clumsy as the others say he was?

Absolutely.

Not wanting to wait any longer, Tia decided to go to Croquel guild to find Ellis instead. Looked like Tia would be the one to drag her out of depression.

"Huh?" Ellis looked at Tia with teary eyes.

Tia made a long sigh, a really long one; Two seconds longer than her usual sigh, "Just finish up and follow me, you too Ruth."

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A note from dotturndot

Oh wow. I realized my work could be found on the 3rd page of the fantasy/ adventure tag. Oooo.. how nice. Thanks RoyalRoad!


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dotturndot

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