Spirit-Bound Chapter 3: Dr Black

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They made good progress, only stopping once to eat. Jade told the thieves that her master had died, leaving her as the sole protector of the forest, and Eve told her about the escapade with the guards.

"I just realised, I forgot to replace my dagger... Oh well. I should be able to get one pretty cheap at the next town." Damian had said. Otherwise, not much had been said. They arrived at Jade's house near dark.

"Welcome. I have a visitor, too. He was wounded in the forest, and I am helping to heal him. He says his name is Dr. Black, but I think it's just an alias. He won't tell me any other name though, so don't push the matter, ok? Oh, and don't take my stuff. I know exactly how much money I have, thank you very much." Jade pushed open the door, and walked inside. They followed the ranger. It was warm, but a little dark, and not much light was being filtered through the windows as the curtains were closed. There was a fire going, and it was nice, warm and cosy. There were shelves with herbs and coins, books and parts of arrows. Near the fire, there were two beds, on makeshift with an occupant, and one empty, but at least a proper one. Eve went straight to the fire, to warm up her hands, whilst slowly taking in her surroundings. Damian walked in, closed the door, and just stood about a metre in from the door. Jade made herself immediately busy by grabbing a kettle and some herbs.

"Don't just stand there looking like an idiot Damian. Even though you may act like one, doesn't mean you should look like one....!" She laughed, and returned her gaze to the fire once more.

Damian rolled his eyes, and shook his head, before moving next to Eve.

"Move over, your too big!" Damian playfully pushed Eve a little.

"Hah! Says you, who's bigger than me!" Retorted Eve, who pushed him back. Jade chuckled quietly.

"Are you two always like this?" She didn't look up from what she was doing.

"Pretty much. Usually relieves boredom and tedium. Other times, it's just fun." Replied Eve. Jade poured the contents of the kettle into a cup, and moved over to the sleeping figure in the makeshift bed.

"Hey, time to wake up. You need to take a drink." He didn't move. She set the cup down.

"Hey! Wake up already! I know you like sleeping, but you need to wake up now...!" Still didn't move. Jade sighed.

"He isn't dead, is he?" Asked Damian.

"No, he's past that point. He's nearly fully healed. He just needs to take a drink."

"Why don't you shake him?" Eve suggested.

"He doesn't like physical contact much. I have an idea. He won't like it, but it'll work..." Jade walked towards a door, and picked up a bucket along the way. She opened the door, but paused.

"Clear around the bed. I don't want my stuff getting wet." And she left, the door swinging closed behind her. Eve and Damian grinned. They figured out what she was going to do, then hurried to comply.

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Time Skip

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Splash! Water hit the sleeping figures face, and they woke with a start.

"Hey! I was sleeping!" Said the man gruffly.

"It's time to drink your tea, Black. You weren't waking up, and I know you don't like physical contact. It was the only other way I could think of waking you up. Now here. Drink." Jade picked up the cup of herbal tea and gave it to Dr. Black, who drank a long draught of the drink, nearly finishing it immediately. He scrunched his face a little bit in disgust.

"Why does it have to be so bitter. Ugh...." He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed.

"It doesn't matter what it tastes like, so long as you drink it." Black drank the last dregs of the tea, and them stood up.

"Thanks. How much longer do I have to stay here?" He moved over next to the fire to dry off.

"What?! Are you sick of my company? Hah!" Jade finished cleaning up, and moved over to the fire as well. They were all surrounding the fire now, one on each side. One standing, three sitting.

"It's not that. I just feel like I have overstayed my hospitality here. I want to keep moving."

"Tomorrow. You only need two more doses. One tomorrow morning, and the last at noon. Then, you can leave. Anyone hungry?" The thieves nodded enthusiastically.

"Well, then I'd better make some food. I'm starving." Jade got up again, and began preparing food.

Eve felt uncomfortable. She wasn't used to sitting in someone else's house, eating their food. Stealing from someone was one thing. But someone being hospitable towards her? Not right. If Damian felt the same way, he didn't show it. Instead, he just sat there, watching the flames flicker and crackle. He looked deep in thought. A while later, Jade called out:

"Food's ready!" She balanced two plates of steaming food on each arm, and made her way back over to the fire.

"I'm starving!" Damian said, as he got up to receive his food.

"Thank you." Eve said quietly. Damian sat back down again, and Jade gave Black his food before sitting down herself. Part way through the meal, Damian looked over at Black.

"Hey, what do you do for a living?" He took another mouthful of food.

"I'm a sorcerer. I just don't like people much, so I keep moving." Black kept his head down, then continued eating.

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Time Skip

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Once the food was eaten, and the dishes cleaned and put away, it was time to sleep. Black went back to the now dry bed, and fell asleep almost instantly. Jade stretched, yawned, and wondered over to her bed. She collapsed, and also fell asleep. Damian got out his bed roll next to Eve's and fell asleep pretty quickly too. The only person who had trouble sleeping was Eve. It wasn't because she was cold; she was next to the fire. It wasn't because she was uncomfortable; she was used to sleeping on rooftops.

It was because no one had really been nice to her before. No one except Damian. She couldn't remember anything from before she met him. And what really worried her the most, was that she didn't actually know how old she was. Or when her birthday was. Or even her parents! All she knew was her name. And that there was something from before she met him. Eve pulled out a book from her knapsack, and opened it to the first page, just inside the cover. she read the writing, bringing tears to her eyes.

To Eve,

Our beloved daughter.

It had a year as well. It was a few years before she had met Damian. There was also a little whisper of a memory. Or perhaps it was a dream. Eve didn't know. All she knew was that there was a blurry person, a girl dressed in green and brown, telling Eve name her name, and that she was scared.

Really scared.

Eve watched the dancing shadows cast by the warm fire, thinking about all of these things, and trying not to cry. She knew that somewhere, deep down, that there was something from before she met Damian. Whether it was important or not, that she didn't know. Hugging the book close to her chest, she closed her eyes and slowly fell asleep. Not wanting to dream.

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