What am I doing… I must have gone completely crazy.
Eilan was lying on her bed, just before dawn, looking at the ceiling.
It was over a week already since she discovered the Asmodian and her decision to cure him was having strange consequences: it was shacking the very core of her beliefs.
Karlis was rude, that was true. He never smiled or showed any kind of gratitude and his voice was always rough.
But a demon? He really did seem human, just like her. He could have killed her the first time and yet he didn’t.
He could have just accepted her treatments without ever saying a word, but instead he made a point of learning to communicate with her.
“Yes” “No” “Hungry” “Thirsty” and the likes of that, they learnt it, both in the Elyos and the Asmodian language and their skills were progressing day by day.
Talking with the Asmodian was a very weird thing and yet Eilan found it exciting. She was probably one of the few people in Elysea that was ever so near an enemy to learn their language and their costumes.
It wasn’t easy of course.
The day after he awoke, she found him with fever and two of his wounds opened again; it turned out he had crawled overnight to retrieve his weapons and armor and pull them near him. Like he could use them, in his current condition… and in her anger for seeing her precious work go wasted, she had told him so, in unmistakable tones. She didn’t know if he understood but Karlis growl had been loud enugh to deliver a clear message: Shut up.
And yet, save some occasional moments, he wasn’t deliberately trying to scare her anymore.
I was always taught Asmodians are evil and cruel and devious. Now I don’t know anymore what the truth is. Is Karlis an example of the typical Asmodian? Or is he strange among his people? He really doesn’t seem evil at all. Or maybe Elyos are taught as such so we won’t feel bad if we win the war?
With a sigh, Eilan rose from the bed knowing the sun was rising. Leaving her sleeping sister in her bed, she silently walked out of their room.
Another day was starting.
He was able to stand now, and for that he was glad. He was still weak but at least he wasn’t reduced to a disabled warrior anymore.
What annoyed him the most was he wasn’t able to go out of the cave unless it was late at night, when he was sure nobody was around. Even Eilan was at home at that time, to prevent any suspicions.
That girl troubled him.
He still couldn’t understand what possessed her when she decided to cure him, no Asmodians would have ever helped an enemy. Maybe it was because she wasn’t a Daeva, so she couldn’t feel the pressure of war. He knew he was alive because of her. After nearly a century worth of fights, he could recognize severe wounds when he saw them and he knew he barely escaped death. Eilan was a kind girl, and a cheerful one too. Now that she was more relaxed near him, he could see her smiling more often, especially when they were undergoing their language lessons. Elyos language was a bit too musical for his taste, but being able to speak with her was interesting, if only from a strategical point of view. He hoped he could learn some more before going back to Asmodae, so he could maybe understand the orders Elyos were shouting when fighting.
Karlis firmly rejected the raising doubt he was appreciating that girl too much, and told himself he was just using her. He needed to be calm and undergo her treatments if he wanted to go back home alive and he needed her to keep coming daily and not turn him in. He needed to soothe her so he would be safe.
And when the time was right, he would go back and never see her again.
Yes, that’s it. I’m just using her. That’s all.
“Karlis? It’s me.” The faint whisper was heard in the cave and the Asmodian stood up. It was already daylight?
He knew Eilan could come to him only once or twice a day, and he never knew where she would turn up.
The Elyos walked to him with her lamp held high, and a somewhat still sleepy smile on her face.
“Just woke up?” He asked her, speaking slowly every word.
“Oh yes.” She nodded, putting her sack down and extracting the breakfast for the both of them. “Couldn’t sleep well tonight.”
Eilan raised her gaze with an uncertain look in her eyes but then shook her head. “Nothing.”
Had something happened? Someone was suspicious? Someone accused her? What was going on?
Feeling strangely worried (for me, I’m worried for me!), he reached her and grabbed her by the shoulders.
“No lie to me!” He growled in her face, resisting her attempts to get free.
“I told you it’s nothing!” She repeated, her heart beating faster. “Let me go!”
And just in that moment Karlis suddenly looked away, as inspecting the cave entrance. With a fast kick, he shut down the lamp and flattened himself against the cave wall, bringing Eilan with him.
“What…” She couldn’t end the sentence as one heavy hand lowered on her lips while the other arm circled her to keep her still against his body.
Suddenly frightened, Eilan tried to wriggle free, but Karlis tightened his grip on her whispering in her ear. “Shhhh. Eilan, silent.”
She stopped moving and for some moments they stood there in complete silence, both aware of their proximity. They had never been so close before, her back pressed against his chest, his arm enclosing her, her head rested on his shoulder. Her hands raised to lean on his arm and she just stayed there, her heart threatening to explode when the hand he was pressing on her lips released her, slowly brushing her hair.
And then it was over. After a tense moment, Karlis released her, going back to his bedplace and restoring the lamp.
“Noise. Out. Maybe Elyos.” Was all he said.
And an awkward silence descended on them.