Staring at the door as it closed, Lorns body relaxed as she continued speaking; Sighing as she continued.
"Cressida, you and your wife will be moved in downstairs as soon as can be afforded. In the meantime, Beryl can stay in one of the spare rooms closest to the stay-in quarters with Hatsumi and the others. Gregor, for recognition of the special requirements of wherever you are housed, you may have to make do with a sanctioned home not far from here. All of your drafting equipment will be moved for you whenever the time comes, it may take upward of a week, however."
"That's all you have to say?"
Gregor raised a hand to the side, expecting more from Lorn as his brows furrowed.
"What else do you expect? With a breach in territory like that, we need you all safe. My canopy only goes as far as the city walls, I can't reach any farther. That's why I couldn't even tell the Bulette was so close. After such an event, I'm surprised people aren't actually panicking more than this."
Lorn reached for her cup, some remnants of tea still filling it. Crossing her legs, Lorn began sipping from the cup.
"So far Gregor and I reassured our people that they'll be well protected. The presence of the guards already patrolling did well for that image, so they have confidence that the city will watch its outskirts... for now at least."
Cressida's response was lacking energy as if Lorn's recommendation was already expected, her body unmoving as she stared forward with a worried expression.
"Was Beryl recovering as well as Vaughn when we left?"
Lorn took the time to ask, doing her best to see to the immediate concerns before further details were discussed.
"Unfortunately... no, she's never experienced mana-exhaustion before. She's probably going to take to fever."
Cressida shook her head, worrying about Beryl's condition.
"All we can do is wait it out, she'll be bed-ridden while her body compensates."
Lorn looked to her cup, then to the window as Cressida explained the situation further. With Cressida's explanation over, there was a pause in activity within the room. The silence was only broken by a now objective-set Lorn.
"First order of business is getting you three resettled, then Gregor. I'll issue an open-announced request so we have the fastest work possible."
"Lady Kiyomi, would you like to re-join your friends?"
Maria asked me as soon as we were headed down the stairwell If I'd wanted to head out.
"Wait, I thought Lorn said to take me to the stay-in quarters?"
Maria smiled at my question, stifling a laugh as we continued to walk along the balcony.
"Aye, Mistress Lorn said so. She also only said to take you there. She did not specify if you were to go afterward, only that I tend to you until your mother returns."
I looked to Maria over my shoulder, thrown off guard by her manipulation of Lorn's words.
So the maid knows how to twist words.
"Be at ease, Lady Kiyomi. If Mistress Lorn truly intended for that to be the case she would have specified. Let's get you cleaned up first, you needn't rejoin your friends in such a mess."
As we passed into the main quarters, Maria was not shy to point out the state of my clothes.
Looking over myself, my tunic and pants were covered in dust and stains both from the clay and stray blood splatter.
"Gather some clothes and I shall take you to the baths Lady Kiyomi."
"Lady Kiyomi, you said you were fine!"
Ah... so that was the extent.
Maria was laying me down on the edge of the bath as she went over my body, searching for any other sign of self-healed wounds.
Fuck... Kiyomi... I'm sorry.
I grimaced as Maria went back and traced a finger along a freshly formed scar, running a fifth of the length of my left lowest rib.
Mom's gonna ask questions about that one... damnit.
"Lady Kiyomi, do you particularly remember when it happened?
Thinking back to the fight, it was easy to recall the exact moment that caused the scar.
I guess it's a good thing I did that in the moment, but already? A scar this large?
"I was about to swing at one of its legs after already hitting the other... It swatted me into the wall of the church we were near..."
Describing this made Maria's face turn white for a moment.
"Lady Kiyomi, you could have been killed by a hit like that! You're lucky this is all you walked away with!"
Maria pulled on my shoulder some to sit me back up.
"I know that! It's just, Beryl was really far away... and I was afraid things would go poorly if I called out to her...Healing on the spot seemed like a better idea... y'know?"
Sitting up, I was met with Maria's face. Her expression shattered the image of the usually collected woman that tended to our day-to-day needs.
"Lady Kiyomi, I-"
Maria frowned, choosing instead to pat the towel wrapping my hair.
"Just, please understand that if anything were to happen to you, your mother would be devastated. Okay?"
She flashed a smile as she asked for my confirmation, slipping her legs into the water and prepping herself to soak in the water.
The tone I felt escape my lips was apologetic in nature.
After the bath, we wrapped my sword in a cloth bag that supposedly Callum kept a plethora of for transporting fresh swords. Making our way out of the bath hall, we were greeted by the usual sight of the guild. Receptionists running about either which way, waiters and waitresses taking orders, and the bustle of adventurers that were lined up for the swarmed quest board with more receptionists ensuring no set of requests were scalped. Today there was a strange addition, one I didn't expect to see just yet; the remainders of the massive corpse, being sundered by Avery and her crew of workers.
That thing... why was it so close...
As Maria led me forward, I locked eyes with the one facing mine, its glazed-over appearance signaling once more that we'd made our first kill.
"Well, Lady Kiyomi? I'm sure they'd want to see you first."
Maria nudged my shoulder forward slightly, urging me to enter the tent where Vaughn and Beryl should have still been. Looking to Maria one final time, I opened the flap to the entrance of the tent.
Vaughn's voice was the first thing to greet me as I entered the tent, the second was the sudden smashing of his body into mine as he ran into me.
"Vaughn- what the-"
This fuckin kid- put me down!
Vaughn had wrapped his arms around me, nearly lifting me a foot from the ground as he hugged me.
"Put me down, Vaughn!"
I was trying to push off of him but I was only doing enough to at least look like I was displeased with it. In truth, I was ecstatic he was up and about. I knew he wasn't too hurt, but I was happy all the same.
"Before I blacked out I was afraid, I thought I saw you get thrown at the temple wall! My memory is fuzzy past that so when I woke up and you weren't here I got scared!"
Vaughn placed me back down as he was spilling his thoughts.
"Vaughn, I told you she was nearly untouched! Calm down! Go get me some water from the barrels behind our cart!"
Sophia chimed out, tending to Beryl at the far end of the tent.
"Kiyomi, I was wondering if we'd see you again today. It does my heart good to see you came back."
Looking around the tent was fixed up more to be a living tent than it was before, lamps, some food, a box here and there, and even some chairs. It was like they'd expected to be here for some time. Walking closer, Beryl appeared worse for wear than when I'd last seen her. Her breathing was raspy and weak and her eyes were clamped shut as Sophia continued to wipe a damp cloth across her daughter's brow.
"How is she miss Sophia?"
I dropped to my knees next to the bed, careful not to place them on Beryl's tail, with my hands holding the edge of the makeshift bed. Sophia smiled at the immediate concern for her daughter.
"She's... weak. She's experiencing mana-exhaustion for the first time... we'd never pushed her so hard as to run her this low."
Sophia was silent for a moment as she looked to her daughter once more.
"That, and we imagine there was a complication with her sudden gift from Solah... If it weren't for that, Beryl wouldn't have managed that second shot of lightning at all."
Sophia gave a gentle smile, wringing out the rag one last time as she placed it to the rim of a nearly empty bucket.
"Using a significant amount of mana so close to acquiring a limit altering skill like she did made the exhaustion even worse. She'll live, but she will need time to recover-"
Beryl's voice weakly projected itself, catching mine and Sophia's attention.
"Shhhh, sweetie, Kiyomi is here."
Both of us looked to the bed-ridden Beryl, her yellow iris just barely visible through her cracked eyelids as she smiled at me before closing once more.
"Ah, she's asleep again..."
Sophia said, her disappointment evident.
"She'll be awake for longer spans of time as the days pass. She should be back out of bed in a few days at most... would you mind spending that time with her when you can? She's been calling for you since she woke, she stopped calling for Vaughn when she realized he was helping me."
Sophia looked at me with a pleading expression, stray hair strands falling ahead one of the same yellow eyes that Beryl had.
God-damnit, I can't say no to that...
Looking to Maria, who was standing off to the side for the whole conversation; she nodded in response. With that action, I had my answer.
"I'll be here anytime Miss Sophia."