Starry Night (1)
Eirinn looked up at the starry sky. Though the summer night should've been warm and musty, Doen stood in the north of the continent, so even midsummer wasn't very hot. It was just warm enough to be refreshing with cool breezes at night. Getting to watch the night sky was a rare luxury for the girl.
In those evenings she would climb onto her shed's roof and watch the stars while basking in the wind. She sometimes even slept there the whole night. Every time she did, she would have a pleasant dream about someone suddenly showing up and taking her away. From today onwards, however, she would not dream. Her savior had shown up.
"The weather's great tonight. But don't stay up for too long, you're not fully healed yet," Leguna said as he sat down beside the girl.
Eirinn still couldn't completely believe Leguna had found her. She gazed at him as the warm, milky white moonlight danced on her face. Thanks to her scars, most people couldn't read her facial expression and couldn't guess how she felt or what she thought. Leguna was different. He could tell at a glance what her thoughts and feeling were. Her spoke on her face's behalf. He saw in them tonight, joy, contentedness, and fear. It didn't surprise him; they had been separated for so long. Eirinn had suffered here for so many years, she was even more timid than before.
Leguna scooched closer and whispered into her ear.
"Don't be afraid Eirinn. I'm still the same Leguna you knew at heart. I might have grown taller and I look a little different, I'm not as timid as before either, but my heart still beats the same -- I'm still your Big Brother. Let's get along like before, okay?"
Eirinn stared at him silently. The first thing she'd done when she woke up was seek his embrace, and he'd given it to her. But she'd since heard that he'd killed the bandits. The brother in her memories was naught, friendly, reckless and a coward; he could never have done something like this.
"Did you really... kill them?"
"Of course. They hurt my little sister, so I had to kill them."
Leguna held her bandaged hand up carefully.
"I know I've changed. But believe me, some parts will never change. You were my first friend. I've vowed to protect you. Your bastard father made me break my promise. And when I found you after I saw you in such a pitiful state. How could you expect me to not get angry?"
"But..." Eirinn hesitated, but her courage returned, "They were people... You... you shouldn't kill people."
Eirinn's voice always stammered, now even more so because she was deathly afraid of making Leguna angry. She didn't want to think what would happen if he decided to punish her, after all, he killed without batting an eye! She couldn't hold back, thought, especially not when it came to something this important. She also wanted to test Leguna, if he got mad at her, then he was no longer the brother she remembered.
Leguna didn't get angry, though. His eyes lit up happily instead.
"You really didn't change! Eirinn, you're as kind-hearted as ever."
She didn't know whether he was just speaking his mind or mocking her.
"I know you don't like it, but that's how I have to do things now. It's the only way to keep the people I care about safe. I can't stop even if I wanted to, because it would also mean I'm abandoning everyone about whom I care. Sorry, Eirinn, even if you don't like it, I have to keep doing it to keep you safe. Can you forgive me?"
"I..." Eirinn studied his sincere expression and eventually gave in. She nodded softly, humming.
"Haha, got you! I don't need your forgiveness at all!" Leguna snickered suddenly.
Eirinn stared slack-jawed at the boy, his mischievous grin was all too familiar. She'd usually ignore him when he messed with her. He would eventually come crawling for her apparent forgiveness, only to tease her when she finally caved.
"You haven't changed at all! Idiot!"
Her brows frowned, but her lips smiled.
"There we go!" Leguna jabbered, "That's the Eirinn I know! Hahahaha! You haven't changed at all either! You're back! Hahahaha!"
The girl stared at the stupid boy and couldn't keep herself from giggling.
"It's been too long," he coughed through the tears.
"We've been apart for too long. What's happened since we were separated?"
Eirinn's gaze returned to the star-dotted sky, the cool breeze lifting her long silver hair gently
"Mama picked me up."
"I know." Leguna nodded.
He had heard her mention before that her laborer father had a wife. She was a kind, hardworking woman, Eirinn probably got her personality from her mother.
"Mama... Mama's gone," she squeezed, "Papa treated me badly afterwards and sold me to a syndicate."
Eirinn's childhood had never been blessed, but she looked back at the years with her mother with love and nostalgia. Her mother died when she was eight, and her father took her over. Without her mother to protect her, she suffered horribly. Her father was a violent drunk and beat her frequently. Eventually he sold her to passing slavers for a few coins.
"And then?" Leguna pressed. Her father had told him this much, he was most interested in what had happened after she became a slave.
"After that… After that, they wanted to sell me to... that kind of place..."
"What?!" Bloodthirst flashed across the boy's eyes. Did they really sell you to a brothel?! You were just ten!
Leguna had three halfs of a mind to find and kill the bastards.
"Nobody wanted me," she murmured, she should be happy she wasn't sold to a brother, but her heart panged at the same time. "They said I could never get a customer with my face."
The irony nearly killed Leguna.
"They finally gave up and tried to sell me as a normal slave, but nobody wanted me for that either. They almost killed me…"
"F*ck!" Leguna's veins threatened to tear. They don't have any hearts. To sell a little girl for coins! Thank goodness you're okay. I swear I'll find them and kill them all!
"Luckily I was saved by the tavern owner!" the girl hastily added.
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