Fifteen days and he was almost perfectly healed. Karlis checked the wound on his chest finding it still red and a bit swollen but otherwise closed. Good.
He was sick of that cave, he wanted to go back home as soon as possible. It was for the better. Because if he didn’t…
No. Don’t even think about it.
It was Eilan of course. Ever since that strange embrace some days ago, he was forced to acknowledge he felt a sort of attraction towards her. Even now he could totally picture her in his mind: the way she smiled, the way her eyes were focusing when she was treating him, her voice, the light perfume in her hair, the gentleness of her hands…
She was different from the Asmodian women he knew. Asmodians were capable of kindness of course and there was more than a woman who was far more beautiful than Eilan, but the toughness in their eyes couldn’t be hidden. It was part of what Asmodians were. Eilan, on the other hand… it was like she was innocent. Pure. She was honest and had her own way of thinking, but her nature was bright light. And his one was made of darkness.
She’s still a child. I’m almost 110 and she’s what? 23? She’s like a baby…
A baby with deep, warm eyes, with a soft body he could still remember pressed against his own…
He needed to stop it.
Karlis grabbed his weapons and started moving around the cave, practicing.
Swing after swing, he welcomed the pain in his muscles, because it distracted his mind. Thinking that way about an Elyos was pure madness. He couldn’t feel anything for her, she was a damn Elyos, she was an enemy, part of the people he was slaying everyday. A vain, conceited, arrogant Elyos.
And yet, he could feel it and he knew she could too. Day after day, they were coming closer to his departure and the tension was building up: her eyes were always fixed on him when they were together and he could have recited her every move, her every feature.
Treating him was dangerous now, and they both knew it. Everytime she was close, undoing his bandages, checking his wounds, he felt her hesitation, her doubts, her fear and all he could do was endure it and restrain himself from grabbing her and… only Aion knew what he would have done to her. With her.
“I’m here.” The soft voice announced her and Eilan walked in, interrupting his training session. She was carrying her usual sack but for some reason she was looking everywhere save at him.
“Lay down, I need to check your wounds.”
His understanding of Elyos language was far from perfect, but by now they could entertain a conversation, if Eilan spoke slow enough.
Without saying a word, Karlis sat down, knowing something was wrong. Her whole body was screaming there was something she wasn’t telling him, he could read it easily. By now… he knew her by heart.
It was over and Eilan knew it. Karlis was healed. All he needed now was some more rest, but the wounds no longer needed any treatment. He was free to go home.
She felt relieved that he was finally better and even more because… it was becoming hard. Very hard.
His red glowing eyes were haunting her dreams since the day he embraced her, since he felt his hand on her lips, since he brushed her hair. Her dreams were dangerous. Dreaming about him, was dangerous. He was an Asmodian. He was going to go home, and she would never see him again.
Once he’s gone, I’ll forget about him.
Being with him, it was intoxicating. She couldn’t wait for the few hours she could spend in his company, talking with him, learning his language, learning about him or just… being with him. It was like he was the fire and she was the butterfly. She couldn’t help but be attracted by him.
The pride in his eyes, the passion in his voice when he talked about his people, even the anger and the cruelty – because Karlis knew how to be cruel, she was sure of it – it was like a siren’s chant. Everytime he looked at her with his intense stare, she felt a burning fire spreading in her chest, in her mind, everywhere. She needed to stop it, before giving in, before doing something she would have regretted later.
He’s an Asmodian. He will go back to his land. He will go back to be an enemy. Remember this.
“You’re healed.” Eilan announced, forcing a smile on her lips. “Your wounds are closed and time will heal them completely. You’re free to go, even this night, if you choose to.”
Those words fell on Karlis like the worst, unexpected sentence.
“Healed? Already?” He asked at last.
The girl nodded, still smiling. “You had a very quick recovery, maybe that’s because you’re a Daeva… anyway, you no longer need me. I’m sure your healers will be able to treat you from now on.”
Karlis looked at her, realizing it was true. It was over. He could go back to Asmodae. And Eilan was smiling.
“I guess it’s good news for you. Your life can go back to be normal.” there was a hint of disdain in his words, a bitter taste. He was leaving and she was happy.
“Yours too. You will no longer be in danger, no longer weak. Aren’t you happy?”
Damn her, how could she!
Karlis suddenly grabbed her hand, squeezing it almost painfully. “Stop smiling.” He commanded.
“Let it go.” Eilan lowered her eyes, trying to break free, but instead of leaving her be, his other hand leaned on her cheek forcing her gaze to rise up. To meet his eyes.
He pulled her nearer, staring at her with his piercing black eyes, but she wriggled free with a sudden movement.
“Just decide when you want to go. I’ll come and help you reach the nearest rift to Asmodae.” Her voice was shaking when she rose up, reaching for her sack.
She couldn’t even move a step, because Karlis was already there, his hands on her shoulders.
“You’re running away. From me.” He couldn’t tell what he was feeling. Maybe he was angry because she was trying to escape… or maybe he just knew that if had let her go now, he wouldn’t have had another opportunity. Because now he knew. It had taken the sudden thought it was really over, he was really going home and she was to become a distant memory, to make him realize the truth: he wanted her. He wanted to feel her, to taste her, to hear her call his name. He wanted to hold her, to feel her fire awaken, just once. Just once. Only once. Then he could go. But not without tasting her, at least once.
“We both know it’s better this way.” There, she was finally speaking her mind. She was finally coming out of hide.
“Says who?” His grip on her shoulder tightened, he wasn’t going to let her go. He stepped closer and as he felt she was trying to pull back, he refrained her to.
Eilan suddenly raised her head, an angry light in her eyes. “Stop it! Are you playing with me? The mighty Asmodian and the poor Elyos? You know better than me why it’s better that…”
And her voice strangled in her throat as her lips were suddenly sealed by a searing kiss.