Episode VII: Ranch Dance (2) Pt.1

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A thermal purge was in order. After a day like today, Cabil needed to immerse himself in some deep meditation and clarity in the hot spring. Basking beneath the steam and stars, his thoughts settled, time lost to the luxury of solitude and a full radiant moon. His employers failed to mention this little slice of heaven behind the Westing House; luckily his snooping around rewarded him with much generosity. Leaning against the smooth brim-stones, he lounged, slowly drifting to sleep. Just a couple more minutes before his shift started...

Suddenly he flailed, eyes snapped open to a sweep in the water's current.

She gasped for air, swallowing a mouthful of spring water, drenched in Cabil's abrupt anxiety. "Relax, Cabil. It's just me!" Cameryn pleaded, brushing her splashed bangs aside, before offering him one of the two beverages.

He sighed at her uninvited accompanying. "Shit, were you trying to sneak up on me?"

"No, we are celebrating! It's the first time we're on a solo mission together." He gave her a square look, Cameryn exchanging it with furrowed brows. "What? You can smoke 'till your ears cough out fumes, but you can't drink?"

"Not interested," he answered flatly, watching her guzzle down both glasses of wine—a true natural.

She flared her nostrils, then flashed Cabil a cold shoulder as she settled the glassware aside. "You're such a party pooper."

He paid her no mind, lounging against the rim of the pool. She soon joined him, her bust perched along the stone bed with her crossed arms cradling her head. Cabil could feel her gawking infatuation peeling away at the wall between them, veering to her indefinitely.

"A girl can stare, can't she?" she replied, and he'd glare, Cameryn perching her chin up with a soft smile. "There's something about you Cabil, something I just don't understand."

He rested his head on the stone-rim, and answered, "There's really nothing you need to know."

"You have no friends, keep to yourself, spar and train all day. You never come to any of the scout parties and outings we invite you to. You talk to no one about anything outside of Aeg. Why are you such a closed book?"

He answered her with silence.

She poked her head up, pressing on, "Is it because of what happened in Kerviss? You shouldn't shut yourself off from the world because of an innocent mi—"

"—shut up with that. There was nothing innocent about it." He turned to her. "I fucked up. Period. A lot of lives had to suffer for my recklessness. I have to live with that."

"You don't have to live with it alone."

"I'm not." He stretched his crossed arms behind his neck and noticed a slash on her face, squinting his eyes at it with interest. "What happened?"

Her hand flew over her wound, his question leaving her awry. "Oh, t-that's nothing. Got into a scuffle with a kitchen knife last night in an awful attempt at making dinner. Heh, you know what they say about Aegelleon soldiers; we should keep our talents in the battlefield."

"Looks like it's been healing for a while."

---------> continued

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