Damien landed flat on his feet on the ground before his room. He blinked, but there was no nausea from the teleportation. The sun was already starting to reach towards its zenith in the sky above him.
His stomach rumbled. Damien pushed the door open and peeked inside, but the room was empty. With a shrug, he started towards the path down the mountain. He nearly ran straight into Reena as she stepped out from behind the curtain in front of her room.
“Oops,” Damien said, taking a step to the side. “Sorry about that. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
“It’s fine,” Reena said, but her lips were pressed together in mild irritation. After a moment, she shook her head. “Do you understand what Professor Greg was talking about in class today?”
“Sorta,” Damien said. “I can’t quite do it, but I think it’s just a matter of practice.”
Henry scoffed within his mind. “I could do it.”
I know you could, Henry. If Greg knew he was teaching an eldritch creature, I doubt he’d be starting with the basics.
“I suppose so,” Reena said, although she didn’t look particularly convinced. Damien’s stomach rumbled again and a small grin passed the woman’s lips. “You getting lunch?”
“Fantastic,” Reena said. “I was getting hungry as well. I’ll join you.”
Damien blinked, but he didn’t have any reason to refuse her. “Sure. I’m only going to the mess hall, though.”
“That’s fine,” Reena said.
The two of them headed down the mountain and across the campus, reaching the mess hall a few minutes later. They talked little during their walk, both of them lost in their own thoughts.
There was a longer line than normal, so they waited in line for a short while before reaching the lunch lady. Damien ordered a beef stew and Reena got a fancy dish that he suspected had something to do with fish.
The two of them made their way over to a nearby table and sat down. Damien tapped his rune circle and bit back a yawn as he pulled out a sheaf of paper. He set it on the table before pulling out his quill and ink, setting them beside it.
“What are you doing?” Reena asked him.
“Just some rune practice,” Damien replied as he dipped the quill in the ink pot and started to draw. “I don’t want to fall out of practice.”
He did his best to ignore Reena as she watched him work. Her gaze felt like a constant tickle at the edge of his mind. If he hadn’t spent so much of his life drawing the runes, he might have made a mistake.
The rune circle beside him lit up green. A moment later, Reena’s lit up as well. Damien finished the rune he was drawing and shook the quill off before setting it on the rim of the pot. He pushed the paper out of the way and tapped the rune, summoning his food. The stew was plain, but it had a rich brown broth that looked incredibly appetizing.
Reena’s food popped up before her as well. It was indeed some sort of fish based meal, although Damien had no clue what it was. It practically glittered, and it sat on a bed of shimmering yellow rice that looked incredibly expensive.
Damien didn’t spend much time looking at her food. His own smelled a lot better, and eagerly dag in.
“Do you always get food like that?” Reena asked once she finished chewing a single bite of her meal.
“I do now,” Damine replied through a mouthful of stew. “Why? It’s pretty good. Better than their free stuff.”
“They have free food?” Reena asked, her lip curling in distaste.
“I don’t know if I’d call it food, but it’s free,” Damien said. He was already almost a quarter of the way done with his food. Reena carved off another small piece from the meal and ate it.
“I don’t normally eat in the mess hall, but it’s an interesting experience,” Reena said. “There are some rather nice restaurants on campus.”
“Oh?” Damien asked absentmindedly. He took another bite of his stew and glanced over at his half-finished rune circle.
Henry, do you think we could try to figure out the rune circle Herald is trying to put on me?
“We could try,” Henry said. “There’s not a ton to go from right now, but we can give it a try.”
“I could show you sometime,” Reena said.
“Huh?” Damien asked, tearing his attention away from his conversation with Henry. “Sorry, I zoned out. What were you saying?”
Reena pressed her lips together. “The restaurant.”
“Oh, right,” Damien said, pausing to take another spoonful of stew. “What about it?”
“I could show it to you if you’d like. I’m sure you’d enjoy the experience.”
“Thanks for the offer, but I don’t really have the money to spend on restaurants right now,” Damien said. “The mess hall has pretty decent food – for me, at least. I guess this is way lower quality than what you ate at home, huh?”
“It could be my treat,” Reena offered.
“I wouldn’t be comfortable taking advantage of someone like that,” Damien said, shaking his head. He tipped the bowl of stew back, finishing off the remains of the broth in his bowl.
Henry bit back a laugh as Reena’s eyebrows grew close. Damien gathered his papers up and put them back into his pack, shaking the last few drops of ink off his quill and capping the ink pot before tossing them in as well.
“I’ve got to get some practice for Delph. Sorry for running,” Damien said, giving her a polite nod. “Enjoy the rest of your meal!”
He strode away, leaving Reena at the table staring at his back in shock. Henry couldn’t control himself any longer and let out a short burst of laughter.
“Maybe you’re the one that needs to read Love Making for the Uninitiated and Lustful,” Henry said mirthfully. “I believe the book covered this particular scenario, although it stated that the man was usually the one asking the woman to dinner.”