Episode II: Merciless Encounter , Pt.2-1

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Midnight. The antique wall clock ticked as seconds turned into minutes, minutes to hours. Syreene sunk her head back into the cushion with her book as she stared down the front door. Her mind started to wander: still no sign of him. Letting out a bothered sigh, her eyes strolled across the apartment— their warm nuance of oriental simplicity.

Across the elevated living room, she watched as the dinner she prepared continue to cool, before she looked up to the wide sliding screen door. Beyond the floor table and bamboo cushions, those doors led to the apartment balcony, aka, Cabil's smoke spot. Cabilwould sit out there before sunrise, among his little garden in the sky, with abud to his lips, and confine himself in solitude. Syreene would always study him, tucked behind the screen stalking, wondering what her brother was musing. When he finished, a hot cup of coffee would be sitting on the kitchen island, where she sat perched on the barstool with a warm smile on her face. He'd snicker, and she'd answer, 'Morning brother!' Her dear, big brother...

Her hand folded, slamming the book to a close. Withdrawing from the sofa, she looked out the cloudy window panel, sulking at the rain starting to pour. She settled the book on the shelf, before a sudden knocking scurried her bare feet to the front door— although, it wasn't like Cabil to forget his set of keys...

She swung the door open, hand already pinned to her side. "Took you long enou—" She gasped. "Cabil?!" her broken voice cried out, her bloody unconscious brother slouched over a clergyman's shoulder. She looked up in bewilderment, studying the familiar stranger.

A short silence stood between them, along with a strange sensation of déjà vu. Mouth left agape, Syreene soaked in his appearance, from his long dirty blond hair to his towering persona.

Her panic soon resigned for confusion...

She stood there gawking at him, and he the same, before her face revealed too much of her captivation. "Oh, goodness! I'm so sorry for staring." She stepped to the side, stumbling on her words, "please, please come in."

He bowed his head. "Oh, uhm, thank you!"

"Just rest him on the couch, I'll get some towels." Syreene closed the door behind them before she rushed into the bathroom and out with a stack of fresh towels along with a bucket of lukewarm water. She kept them by her side while the man relaxed Cabil's head on the armrest. The young elfin looked him over after stripping his thermal, finding no signs of any injuries on his torso. So why was he so bloody? Maybe his victim's blood?

"He was attacked by a woman in black," the clergyman said to her. "She wore a skull masking her identity. I managed to thwart her, but, not before she impaled Cabil." Her face sunk to a pale terror, but he quickly reassured her, "But with all that I could conjure, I restored his vitals and healed him. The wound from his chest sealed nicely, but he did lose a lot of blood, leaving him in this crude predicament. He just needs rest and nurturing. Cabil should be fine in no time under your care."

"I appreciate this, really. Thank you." Syreene craned her head down in guilt for kicking him out; if she wasn't being so pushy about him seeking guidance, this wouldn't have happened. Luckily, the rarest of people had an eye on him tonight, a healer at that.

"You need not thank me, Syreene." He flustered, almost choking on his words as if he slipped up. Quickly redeeming himself, he offered his hand in greeting, "I'm Father Narus Benoventeg. It's a pleasure meeting you!"

"Father... Narus?" Puzzled, she focused on him. Earlier she had noticed the blade he carried on his back, the priestly garments, but the two features were so far off that she didn't challenge her assumptions. She leaned into him, her interest peaked. "From Dovve District? The clergyman with whom my brother had an appointment with?" She took his hand, beaming. "A paladin! How fortunate!"

"Heh, more or less. I carry many titles."

Syreene aided him in cleansing Cabil the best she could. Cabil wasn't particularly heavy, weighing just under 160 lbs at 5'10, but he was still unconscious. The bucket of water foamed red as she squeezed out the towel, finishing up. "Seems like you need to wash up yourself," she addressed Narus with a soft snicker. "You can use the masterbath in my room. I'll lay out some clothes for you on the bed. I'm sure my brother wouldn't mind you borrowing his stuff after you practically saved his life." She sighed. "I just feel like this was all my fault. If I hadn't forced him to meet with you so late, he wouldn't have gotten hurt. It's just that Cabil is so stubborn about whatever he keeps locked up in his head all the time, and he won't talk to me about it. I thought maybe if I got him professional help, he would open up and stop being so distant sometimes."

She looked up to him with his hand over her shoulder, and he replied, "Don't burden yourself with guilt. Just be grateful he had a guardian angel watching his back tonight."

"I'm a little surprised actually. Cabil never brings anyone home for dinner. I'm glad you were there with him. Cabil usually carries his own around these streets; I rarely see him come back home this beaten up."

"Heh, well, ehm—yes. Even he can drop his guard sometimes. He is only human, after all," he choked. "Don't worry. As long as you can keep him out of trouble long enough, he will heal just fine."

"I'm going to toss these in the wash. Hurry back and join me for dinner, okay?"

----> continued

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