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I split the stew into two bowls, one of them having a larger amount. I carry the heated wooden bowls over to the dining table, place the larger serving on my side, and set the smaller one down in front of Evetta’s chair. I look up and see her sinking into the cushioned lounge chair, her chin resting on the arm of it, her eyes fixed on the pouring rain outside. What’s going through her mind now for her to be frowning like that?
I massage the back of my neck, roll my head, sigh, and call, “Evetta, dinner.”
“Okay,” She blandly mutters as she crawls out of the chair. I sit down and watch her slog over to the dinner table. As she sits down and stares at her bowl of stew, I ask, “You okay?”
Evetta smiles wryly, says a few words in her native tongue, and picks up her spoon. Does she not like stew? No… I glance at the window and watch the large water drops explode on the night-soaked ground. Does she not like the rain? Maybe she wanted to go see the moons again? Whatever it is… I blink, focus on her, and say, “Eat.”
We begin working our way through our bowls but, midway through our meal, as Evetta is bringing a spoonful of stew to her mouth, she stops, lowers the spoon, and frowns. Was I too hard on her during our lessons earlier? I stare at her forehead and see a slight red mark where I was poking it. Maybe her head hurts?
“Revus, zleeps,” Evetta says sullenly.
Sleeps? I bite my lip and clench my fists as my blood begins to boil. It’s okay, she’s still learning… Just breathe. I examine her petite figure and scan her face. Is she that tired though? “Okay,” I exhale, “but bath first.”
She tilts her head, climbs off the chair, and shambles toward the bathroom. She silently opens the door and enters. This girl… She didn’t even grab anything to change into. I sigh, get up, and walk over to her dresser. I open it, look for the smallest nightgown I can find, and pull it out. She’s smaller than I expected. I close the drawer. Well, hopefully she’ll grow into these.
I turn around, walk over to the bathroom, and slowly open the door, peeking inside. Huh, where is she? I look behind the door and see her standing in front of the window. Good, she’s still dressed but…
“Evetta, clothes,” I say as I walk into the room. I set them down on the cabinet, turn to the bath and, as I hold out my hands, fill the tub with warm water. Once done, I turn to Evetta and say, “Bath.”
She turns around, nods, and walks over to the tub, stopping next to me. She looks up and stares at me, her bangs falling in front of her large white eyes. I brush them behind her ear, point to the bath, and smile. Then, I leave the bathroom and return to the dining table. Hopefully the bath helps.
I finish eating my stew and take our bowls over to the sink to begin washing them. It’s already been nine years… That means we’ll be returning soon… I take a deep breath as I create water and use it to rinse our tableware. Nine years, and not once have I seen a shadar. Nor another fairy for that matter. Yet the enōōfen have been popping up more frequently, and they even have those damned birds. I tighten my grip on the spoons, snapping one of them in two. I frustratedly exhale as I stare at the broken utensil. Good thing I have more…
I finish washing the dishes, dispose of the broken spoon, and glance at the bathroom door. Then there’s Evetta… I walk to my workshop and begin cleaning up the area. Sir Marth didn’t teach me every language, but at least gave me information on the most common ones. Which means she’s from some obscure region. She seems to have knowledge about the axioms but is fascinated by simple everyday objects like trees and the moons.
I grab some parchment and a stick of charcoal and, as I lay them down on the bench, sit on my stool. I start to write down my thoughts about her. She isn’t cold to the touch so what happened to that icy chill when she was a bud? Not once did it ever disappear, but now… I sigh and run my hand through my hair. Another odd thing about her is her pure white wings. Pure white… Doesn’t that mean that she died and immediately entered a bud? But wouldn’t that require dying while your soul was in the fountain… That doesn’t make any sense though… I scratch my head and, as I forcefully write my last line, break the charcoal. Nothing about her seems normal.
I crumple the parchment up, ignite it, and watch it turn to ash. I spin around, lean my back against the bench, and sigh. And the weirdest part is her abnormal absorption rate. Just thinking about her laying down and pulling in the nearby spīīr… She’s going to be difficult to hide in the future unless she learns to control that. Looks like I’m going to be busy going forward. I place my index fingers at my temples, massage them, and look toward the bathroom door. She’s taking quite a while in the bath…
I get up, walk over to the bathroom and, before I knock on the door, hear Evetta sobbing. She’s crying… I feel my chest tighten, take a deep breath, and knock on the door. “Evetta, you okay?”
After a brief moment of silence, she responds, “Yez.”
I feel a tinge of frustration spread. Please pronounce it correctly. It’s a simple word and we’ve been using it for a couple of days now… I sigh. Don’t get mad… I’m supposed to protect her. I turn away and return to my stool, counting my supplies. Looks like I have enough.
“Revus,” Evetta murmurs as she opens the door, “Thank.”
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I turn my head to the side and narrow my eyes, “Thank?”
“Yez,” Evetta nods as she points to her bed, “Thank.”
Is she trying to say sleep? “Ah,” I mutter. Maybe she’s confusing sleep and thanks. I rest my index finger on my upper lip and my thumb below my chin. That would explain her slip up during dinner.
I get up and grab a hair brush, walk over to her bed, and sit down. “Evetta, sit,” I say, patting the spot next to her pillow.
She stares at the ground and shambles over to the bed, her small frame barely big enough to climb up onto the raised bed. As she works her way onto the mattress, water drips from her hair, wetting her nightgown, blanket, and pillow. I shake my head slightly. Silly girl…
I hold out my right hand and generate a warm wind that starts to dry her hair. With how she’s been acting, it’s likely she used to be a guy. While maintaining the wind, I brush her hair with my left hand. Is she struggling to adjust to her new body? I don’t know what I can do-
Evetta suddenly leans her head against my chest.
“Evetta?” I mutter as I hesitate to pull her away. I tilt my torso and look down at her.
“Revus…” Evetta whimpers, turning to look up at me, tears flooding from her eyes and pouring down her cheeks. “Revus…” She continues, speaking in her native tongue.
“I’m sorry,” I state, putting the hair brush down. “I don’t know what you’re saying,” I add, pulling her toward me, and hugging her gently.
She grips my shirt, buries her face in it and, as she cries, utters “Sleeps.” I hold her close, rubbing her head as she sobs loudly. I think you mean thanks. We remain like that for a while until she slowly gets quiet.
“Evetta?” I mumble as I glance down at her. She is breathing softly with her eyes closed. She’s asleep? I smile, pick her up, and tuck her in bed. “Goodnight,” I whisper, brushing her bangs out of her face. “Sleep well.”