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...The moonlight lit up the gloomy setting, casting a soft glow against a girl curled up in a ball on a piece of driftwood near the lake. She wore a thin blue flannel and leggings, and her hood was drawn tightly shut, casting shadows under her eyes.
Aaron stared at her, trying to figure out what she was doing and who she was. It was freezing outside, and she didn’t even have a real jacket. Besides that, it was late and she probably shouldn’t be outside alone anyways. When he heard her begin to cry softly, he walked over hesitantly. Her head snapped up, hearing him, and gave him a sharp look.
Wiping her eyes, she turned away, as if trying to pretend nothing had happened.
Aaron instantly recognized the girl who they'd brought to the guild only days before. after all, she was the one who risked her life for both him and Nadeen by blocking two deadly attacks. But...why was she out here? She should be in the infirmary, healing, since she took a direct hit of darkmagic head on. It was a miracle she was even alive after all that.
"Ciara, what are you doing?" he asked, rushing over. The girl didn’t respond, only clinging tighter to her knees, shivering. Aaron could see she still wasn't in good shape, for her skin was coated in red scrapes and purple-black bruises. Bandages wrapped thickly around her shoulders and back and encircled her arms and legs like bracelets.
Worried, he sat down next to her, studying her face. She seemed like she was in pain, since she was wincing every time she took a breath and slightly moved.
Now impatient, he stood up in front of her. "Okay, tell me why the hell you're out here and where your common sense has disappeared to." He crossed his arms, waiting for her to say something.
Ciara took in a shaky breath, and whispered, "Im sorry. But...I cant stay..." She began to tremble again, closing her eyes tightly. "So...I’m leaving."
Aaron stared at her in disbelief. "Are you joking?! You're still in bad shape- you can’t even breathe correctly! "
"I know, I know, but it’s fine. I've felt pain for a long time now- it's never stopped me." Ciara stared up at him, her mossy green eyes glistening with tears. "I...I have to..." She gasped suddenly, leaning over and gripping her right side with extreme pressure.
Alarmed, Aaron leaned down close to her, lightly placing his hands on her shoulders. "Are you alright?! What hurts, tell me."
Ciara began to breathe unevenly, hunching over. Hanging her head, she inhaled heavily., "I...have to..to leave....before any-yone else gets hurt.. ." She shook again, wheezing. "or else..they'll..get me...and.. try..t..to..-" her face went blank and she toppled into Aaron, who caught her easily.
Forgetting entirely about taking a walk, he plucked her off the ground and swung her into her arms. Her face had gone stone white, twisted in pain.
Aaron, fearful for the worst, began to head swiftly back to the main hall with her in his grip. Little fool, he thought, glancing at Ciara with dark troubled eyes. What was going through that secretive mind of hers?
He began to analyze what she had said before she passed out, confused. What could have happened to her that she didn’t mind pain? Who was in danger? Why was she leaving now?
And...who was going to try and get her?