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His chest was covered in blood.

Alarmed, Evira glanced around her, the thud of her heartbeat quickening. Had he been attacked? Could his attacker still be there?

He heaved a breath. "Please...help."

With caution, she returned to his side. "You've lost much blood."

What could she do? Apply pressure to stop the blood. Papa had shown her. But as she pressed against his chest, he gasped in pain.

Her hands flew back. "I'm sorry!"

Slowly, he began to laugh, the movement causing him much distress, and yet at the same time alleviating his pained expression. He found it amusing that she knew little about aiding him.

"This must be where my grave lies," he muttered. "How...unfortunate."

She frowned at him. "No, I will not leave you here. Armedian would never forgive me!"

He eyed her carefully when she mentioned the god's name, but he allowed her to help him sit up. She could see he was very reluctant. Should he be moving? Would it cause the wound to open even further?

She gritted her teeth as she struggled to make a decision. She knew one thing: she needed her parents. But she did not want to leave him.

"My home is not far from here," she said. She watched as a flicker of relief crossed his face.

"My sword..." He was reaching for some long object beside him. Understanding, she took the sheathed weapon and wrapped its belt around her shoulder.

She had already assumed that this young man was no threat. And even if he were, he was in no physical shape to attack her.

She spotted a dagger sheathed in his right boot. His small soaked bundle of belongings lay a few feet away. Slinging that over her shoulder, she helped him rise to his feet.

He stood much taller than her. More than half his weight became her burden. Though, she stood firm, giving him his balance.

Ever so slowly, they trekked past windblown bushes, dodging branches that were bent down from the rain. They returned to the dirt path that she knew led homeward. But as minutes passed by, she feared she might have gone in some wrong direction.

Eventually, the storm became unrelenting. The young man she was holding up began to huff out quick, sudden breaths. She could tell he was doing his best to walk on his own, mindful of her small strength. Just a moment ago, he had appeared ready to accept his fate. His staggers were terribly slow, but she knew he was now fighting for survival.

Her steps were beginning to falter as they progressed. His unbalanced weight grew heavier. She struggled to stay upright and keep him from falling unconscious.

"We're almost there," she said. Though, she wasn't sure if she was reassuring him or herself.

Right as she stopped to let him catch his breath, she heard the muddy splashes of footsteps from somewhere nearby.

Her stomach frisked.

"What was that?" the injured man asked, breathless.

Thunder echoed in the sky, and she wondered if she had heard anything at all. Then, a voice called out. "Evira, is that you?"

The voice cut through the cloak of heavy rain. Evira shifted her weight in an effort to turn, almost forgetting that she was still supporting the warrior. He wobbled to the side slightly, and she let him lean on her again to regain his balance.

"Papa!" she cried.

Her father trudged to her side. Oh, how relieved she was to see him.

"I came out looking for you when you didn't come home." He observed the young man slung halfway across her shoulders. "By the gods, what happened?"

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