When I woke up again, I felt a sharp pain in every part of my body. My vision was very blurry, but I could see and feel that Ykril was lying against me with one hand on the bandage.
»Happy birthday sis.« Miara said as she briefly lifted the bandage on my stomach and checked the wound.
»I was hoping he'd do his healing thing you told me about. That's why I put him so close to you« she continued, clearly disappointed.
»Apparently not« I sighed softly, racked by pain.
»I can't understand you. He makes you weak and irrational. Like a tadpole in your guts during the transmutation.« she warned as she loosened my bandage, cleaned the wound and put some red ointment on it before reapplying the bandage.
»Maybe you'll find your prince someday, too, and« I began faintly, but was interrupted by Miara.
»Shut the fuck up. Love is a sickness. Nothing else. Mom made the same mistake, and you know where that has led to.« she huffed indignantly.
»Now stop wriggling around, or your stitches will open up again.« she growled before giving me a rude punch on my chest.
»How is he doing?«
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»Yeah, I'm fine. Well a couple of broken ribs and a hurt pride, but that's fine. Thanks for asking.« came a mocking laugh before she continued calmly
»He has a strong heart rate and is breathing. But has been motionless since you tore off that mask.«
»What about Crane?«
»The Bitch? I took care of her, too, otherwise you would have ripped off my head. Why do you care about her? Have you forgotten she tried to kill you?«
»She's an assassin and only following commands.« I responded quietly.
»You and your damn morals!« she criticized harshly »At least I have a trophy« she started to grin and began waving Claudia's severed arm around
»You are incredible« I muttered while shaking my head.
After a few more hours of rest, I was able to get up again. Not very well, but it was enough to leave this area. Arishonna made it easy for us to bring the still unconscious Ykril back to Culfield. When we arrived there, the peace we had hoped for was not waiting for us. Even before we entered the village, Sanise came running towards us.
»We have a problem.« it came out hastily from her »Someone stole our gold and while trying to stop the thief, the tavern became on fire.«
Just now we saw how local residents were running back and forth with buckets between the well and the burning tavern in a panic.
»My dress is in the tavern« I called out worriedly and a second later I could hear Ykril muttering
»No, it isn't. I had forgotten it in Arishonna's pockets.« he admitted weakly
Relieved that he seemed to be up again, I turned around and rushed towards him.
»How are you feeling?« I asked him calmly while stroking gently over his cheek.
»Still dizzy and I can't move properly yet either. But you seem to be not doing well.« he noted and tried to hint at my nose.
I wiped my finger barely along my nose and looked at the blood on my fingers only briefly before cleaning it off on my cloak.
»It's nothing.« I tried to assure him, but somehow I got the feeling that he saw through my lie.
»What are we going to do about our gold?« Sanise interrupted restlessly as she tugged on my cape
»Forget about the gold. With our luck, the thief is already gone. Furthermore, we need a medic at first.« I replied to her disappointed, watching Miara literally exploding.
»I swear you Nali, someday I'll kick the shit out of you!« Miara hissed at me.
I tried sighing, but I just started coughing out blood.
»Let's go north. The map shows another village there where we can resupply.«
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After just a few hours of travel, Sanise began to nag.
»My feet hurt.« she loudly complained.
»OK, let's take a rest.« I mentioned, pointing to a flat spot not far off. I could use some rest by myself.
While Sanise took care to make a campfire, I tried to drag Ykril off Arishonna.
»Miara? Can you give me a hand?« I asked softly, to which she wordlessly agreed.
She made it look so easy. With just a few moves, she dragged Ykril down and was about to take him to the fireplace.
»Oh, you do smell so good, too. Like my Nali.« he mumbled with a big grin but still slightly dazed.
I guessed bad, and just at the moment I finished the thought, Miara promptly dropped him to the ground.
»OK, That's too much!« she growled, and I could see her holding back a kick at Ykril before she disappeared into the woods to hunt.
She has never been very good with compliments.
Just as Miara disappeared into the forest, I grabbed my wound on the stomach in pain, sank to the ground and lost consciousness.