Private Tales What lurks in the shadows

Kiara

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Deep inside the forest, in a forsaken barn, there was this huge ice crystal, shining under the moonlight. Suddenly and without warning the shard started to crack, followed by a loud shattering noise that echoed and filled the abandoned barn, releasing the body that was trapped inside of it.

In Elbion city it was just another serene night. The terrible massacre that painted the streets with blood, now seemed a distant memory, people moved forward, life continued and normality had returned once again. Elbion Magic College was not an exception, two guards were securing the college front gates. It was just another night shift, until they notice something, a dark silhouette crossing the plaza and coming in their direction, they couldn’t believe in their own eyes. As the figure got closer, one ran back inside at full speed, while the other just stood there, speechless with his eyes wide open.

It was awfully late, but a soft song could be heard from Professor Hellius Chronos’ bedroom. The male elf was still awake and a frown adorned his face, there was not a single day that he had not missed nor visit her, his little girl, Kiara. The little magic crystal kept shining and resonating that angelic voice, but each note haunted his heart.
Suddenly his bedroom door flew open, in a swift move Hellius closed his hand, ceasing the melody and glanced with furious eyes at the guard. He was ready to scold the guard for disrespecting his privacy, but the guard spoke first.
“Pro... Professor… Chronos! Sir! You… You have to… come and see this! At the.. front gates!” said the guard, while gasping for air, clearly he ran all the way to get there.
Hellius stared at him with a cold serious gaze, then he left, leaving the guard behind. What was all this about? It was better to be something urgent, otherwise that guard would never hear the end of it.

He rushed at full speed and in no time, he reached the central garden, stopping on his tracks. A young female elf with long platinum hair and a beautiful hairpin was standing right before him, her clothes were torn and stained with blood, walking barefoot, her face displayed a mix of emotions, fear, shock, confusion and stress as she looked frantically around.
“KIARA!” He screamed while dashing, embracing her tightly “You are back! Thanks to heavens! You are back! How did you reach here? Are you injured!?” Hellius asked while checking on her, he tried to keep his voice under control and tears from falling.
On the other hand, Kiara couldn’t hold her tears, crying in relief on his chest “Hellius...” she called for her guardian “Fafurion brought me here and I’m fine, the blood is not mine….” She couldn’t calm herself, her voice laced with anxiety “Hellius, what is going on!? I.. I don’t understand! The city! Where are all the demons!? And what about the Altersphere?!” She looked around one more time “Where is Jaken!? Is he here too!?”
Hellius only hugged her, not answering the questions. Returning to his cool and calm self, he picked her up on his arms. “Let’s take care of you first. Everything else can wait. If you are not hurt, then take a bath, change your clothes and take the chance to calm down. I will explain everything once you are done.” He said, while carrying Kiara to her bedroom.

Emerging from the warm water, Kiara’s mind wandered once again. Was she insane or delusional? Just a few hours ago the city was a total chaos, it was the end of the world, and now, nothing! How was this even possible? Did the demon tampered with her mind somehow? Or was she still cursed? She was not sure, but then her eyes landed on her clothes, no… it couldn’t be just a nightmare or a product of her imagination! That blood was real! But, how? It was not hers, that much she knew since she had not a single scratch. So many questions and still no answers.
While Kiara was in the bathroom, Hellius glanced through the window of her bedroom, thinking about how to explain everything to her, it was a delicate situation, and certainly it wouldn’t be easy for her to deal with it.
A few minutes later the spellsinger left the bathroom, wearing her nightgown. The male elf sighed, preparing himself for what was about to come, he made Kiara sit on the bed while he pulled the chair, putting it in front of her and took a seat. Hellius looked deep into her blue eyes before starting.
“What is your last memory, darling?”
Kiara thought for a moment, collecting her memories “… I remember that we were running away from the cave where the demon and the Althersphere were, then... I passed out. That’s the last thing that I recall.”
Hellius started from there, explaining carefully all the last four month's events, all the time that she had been trapped in the ice. The spellsinger would nod her head, here and there, showing that she was listening, but it was clear that she was shocked, realizing that she had been asleep for four months! In the end, Hellius answered to all the questions that the female elf could still have.
“Do you know if... Jaken is still here at Elbion?” she asked, lowering her head, her voice so faint laced with sorrow as if she already knew the answer or fearing to have the confirmation.
“I don’t know sweetie, last time I saw him was three months ago, during the reconstruction of the city.” Hellius knew that this was not easy for her, she got too attached to the werewolf, and in her perception, Jaken had ‘suddenly’ left.
Hellius noticed that Kiara was on the verge of tears, its was a painful sight for him, but the worst was that he could do nothing for her, only time could fix her broken heart. Why? Why did his little girl had to go through this? He knew that no one was to blame. But why did she have to fell for someone that sooner or later was bound to leave?
The male elf took a deep breath, speaking in a smoothing voice in order to calm her down.
“Go to sleep, you had a rough night and you need to rest. Everything will look better tomorrow.” He placed a small kiss on her forehead, before getting up and walk towards the door.
“Good night…” She said while laying on the bed. Her mind was racing to process all the information, this didn’t even seem to be real for her. There was a lot of questions and a lot of gaps to be filled. Why did she cast the glacial imprisonment spell on herself? How did she end up on that barn? These were some questions that not even Hellius knew how to answer.
“Rest well, sweetie”. He said while slowly closed the door, glancing one last time at Kiara, at least his little girl was back.
 
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Adriwolf

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Jaken had tried to distract himself by running through the woods in his werewolf form and hunt animals, but no matter, what he did, he could not take her out of his mind. No matter how hard he tried, no matter how many things he did to himself, he could not take her out of her mind. Was this some type of curse? Had somebody enchanted him with the sorrow memory of her, her voice, her movements, her personality. Did someone cursed him with those haunted memories? If so, who was it? Could it have been that bitch whose life ended EXACTLY 4 months ago? He was not sure, and the worst part was: how long would this be attached to him? Will it last until the day he dies? The day that he gathers the courage to forget her and move on? Although.... that may not be possible. How could he forget her? She was the only one that cared for him ever since he got bit..... but.... there is always the cchance that.... it can go away.... eventually.... how can it go away? How can those memories go away, after everything the elf and him had gone through? The wolf meditated at the top of a boulder, looking at the forest and Elbion from far away. Thinking and breathing the clean air to let him think.... maybe it was time.... maybe.... maybe he could say goodbye to her.... no.... he couldn't... how could he? The wolf jumped down and walked to the barn.

The night above him was peacful, the crickets chirping and the twigs breaking under his back paws, and eventaully, he encountered the barn, walking through it. He inspected the area, trying to find Fafurion, but he wasn't there, maybe he went for a hunt? Probably, when he entered the barn, he was looking down, gathering the strength to look up and face her. It still hurt. It still hurt the wolf's feelings. But a wolf must be strong. He looked up....
"<What the--?>"
The ice shard was broken, torn, as if.... as if someone broke it... as if-as if... AS IF SOMEONE HAD FREED HER!! "oh my god...." he isnpected the shard, making sure that he was not seeing things. He wasn't, he touched it, the coldness burnt his claw gently and no one was inside. Kiara was not there. His heart started to pound on his chest, he could feel it hitting his ribcage, he looked around, trying to find traces of Kiara "KIARA????!!!!!" he roared, looking around the barn, tearing it to pieces to find any tracks "KIARA, I'M HERE!!! IT'S JAKEN!!!! KIARA???!!!!" he looked down, at the feet of the shard, the place where he fell asleep for the last 4 months and where he would have fallen asleep if it wasn't for the discovery he just made. There were tracks, footprints. HUMAN-LIKE FOOTPRINTS!!! The wolf looked at the trail and followed it, sprinting on all fours and into the city, he stopped at the edge to look where the tracks leaded, it was easy to identify where they went. The tracks were muddy, and no one was on the street, except for the two guards. He looked back, shifted into a human and dressed up. he then ran through the street and into the guards. "I need to see Professor Chronos. it is important!!"
"I'm sorry sir, we can't let you in."
"PLEASE!!! IT IS IMPORTANT!!!"
"Sir, we can't let you in. We have orders from the new dean to not let any stranger in."
"GET ME PROFESSOR CHRONOS!! PLEASE!!! IT IS IMPORTANT!!! I HELPED HIM DURING THE ELBION ATTACK!! JUST GET HIM TO ME, HE'LL KNOW I CAN BE TRUSTED!!!!" he started to tear up, due to desperation and frustration. If it wasn't for the magical barrier, he could easily push the guards away and find Hellius himself, but that wasn't possible. Not now, at least, but.... it was Kiara.... her love... he could not let this chance pass. Screw the guards, screw the magical wall, and screw everything. He grabbed the guard's sppear and broke it with his knee, making the other guard tackle Jaken, but the werewolf was stronger than him, still standing on place. The first guard took the chance to finish the job and tackle him down. "LET ME SEE HER!!! I NEED TO SEE HER!!!" the first guard shifted into a green dragon with wings, pinning Jaken to the ground, but Jaken knew better than that. He morphed into his wolf form and fought back, wiggling and putting a fight with the dragon, who would use his wings to crush Jaken with wind. The other guard did not morphed into something else, but he stayed human, grabbed the spear he had and pinched Jaken with it. Jaken growled at the touch "LET ME GO!!! I NEED TO SEE HIM!!! PLEASE!!!!" he kept fighting, however, his body started to get weaker and more static, his muscles were turning off and his consiousness was barely there... he was drifting off "please..... i need to see kiara...." he relaxed his body, not imposing a threat to the dragon now. Normally, he would've thought of a better strategy, but his emotions were controlling him now, he couldn't give out the most appropiate combat calls. But that he couldn't help it..... Kiara was free....

The guards stayed silent for a while, watching Jaken pant on the ground, still conscious but unable to move, the dragon had left Jaken on the ground, his chest on the ground and his back exposed to the air
"Did he said "Kiara?"
"That's what I heard."
"Damnit..." the guard sighed "Go get him." he nodded at the other guard. The second guard nodded and went in the college.
"rrrrr......."
"You'll stay like this for some time. We stabbed you with paralytic poison. You will stay like this for a while. You will barely process what is going on, your body won't move, but you will still be conscious. Just remain there, it'll pass in the next... 5 minutes? But we can give you an antidote. If Hellius let us, that is."
"rrrrrrrr......"

Where was she? He needed to see her. He needed to comfort her... after 4 months.... he needed to see her.
 
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Kiara

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As Hellius was about to open his bedroom door, a guard appeared at the end of the hallway calling for him, while rushing to his side.
“Professor Chronos!”
The male elf glared at him “Not again…” he whispered to himself, before speaking in a rash tone. “What do the guards want from me now? What is it this time!?”
"Sir, I know it is late, but could you kindly come to the front gates once again?”
This time Hellius didn’t even tried to hide his annoyance. "Is the college on fire? Is someone trying to break in!? IF NOT, then whatever it is can wait until tomorrow to be solved.”
“I’m sorry professor, but in fact, there is a werewolf causing a ruck, he insists on seeing you, also he… he mentioned Kiara’s name.”
Hellius pinched his nose bridge, trying to calm down, he already could guess who this werewolf was. He took a deep breath, turning away from the door, following after the guard.

As the male elf made his way towards the front gates, he noticed a huge black furry creature lay on the ground. He stopped right in front of his snout, so the werewolf could see him, if he looked up, that is. Hellius had no intention to kneel, in order to be at Jaken's sight level, besides, this view was very amusing to the male elf, he chuckled.
“Look who is here. Picking another fight with our guards. I see, clearly you have a problem with authorities.” He spoke in a teasing tone, before turning to the guard. “Give him the antidote. I will take responsibility for his next actions.” Then the male elf glanced at the werewolf. “He might be a troublemaker, but he is harmless.” Clearly this was his way to warn Jaken to behave himself.
After the antidote had been injected, Jaken slowly started to move, standing up.
“Shift back to your human form, then, we can talk.”
As Jaken returned now in his human form, Hellius glanced at him from top to bottom with disapproval on his eyes. Jaken was a mess, clearly the werewolf had stopped taking care of himself. The male elf sighed.
“You wanted to see me? Let me guess, you came here to look for her… I thought that you had left Elbion months ago.” He crossed his arms.

It proved to be a hard task for Kiara to fall asleep, her mind wouldn’t rest, always wandering off. None of this felt real for her. How could be? One day everything was normal, if ignored the fact of the almost end of the world, and on the next day, four months had elapsed! But if this was not enough, there was still another matter that was troubling her, Jaken.
It didn’t matter where her mind drifted, it would always return to him. After what Hellius said, there was a huge chance that Jaken had left, meaning that she wouldn’t see him again. This simple thought made her eyes teary and her heart to tight up, it hurt her.
Why? Why does it hurt so much? She knew that once Elbion was saved and the Altersphere recovered, he would leave. After all he is a bounty hunter, always moving, never staying for long in one place and neither bonding with anyone. So why? Was it because she didn’t have the chance to say goodbye? Or the fact that she never gathered the courage to confess her feelings to him? She didn’t know. Then something crossed her mind, Merkl! If someone could tell her if Jaken was still in the city would be the lizardman! But for now, the only thing that Kiara could do was wish for, wherever Jaken was, he would be fine. After what seemed like an eternity, exhaustion finally took over her and slowly the spellsinger fell asleep.
 
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Adriwolf

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The werewolf couldn't process what was going on around him. He could see lights, shadows, and his claw being in front of his snout, but he couldn't move or think straight. Except for one thought, that is: Kiara and his wish to see her and check on her, tell her that he was here, and that he never left, that he was there to protect her and keep her company (and the other way around... if you could it company), that he still had the necklace with the purple shard Hellius gave him 4 months ago. Somehow, even with the drug, he could still think on that. And it is something that would keep him on the grasp of sanity, even though he had been doing that for the last 4 months, each day making his sanity decrease. But this time... it was different. It was happening. This could keep him from going insane or on to an alcohol addiction..... that for some reason, he knew it was bound to happen. First one bottle per week, eventually it will become two, then three, then four, and so on until it would take anything to drown the sorrow and sadness... he knew that a wolf must be strong, but this boulder was just too heavy to carry on his back.

He saw a big shadow appear in front of him, he panted and tried to process who could it be. Then, a voice invaded his ears, he tried to identify it, but the drug made him have a hard time to do it, then, a chuckle. What was so funny? Jaken could not identify or know what it could be so amusing for the shadow to laugh. Then, a flash came to his memory. A chuckling shadow: it reminded him of someone that he hated: the lady. The lady that took control over Kiara and was responsible for the 4 months Kiara and him were separated. He growled at the shadow, not knowing it was in fact Hellius. He thought it was that god damn woman who had lost her life a long time ago, an eternity for Jaken.... but.... what it could have been for Kiara? A day? A week? The whole 4 months??!! He needed to see her, ask her if she was ok and comfort her. However, the thoughts were broken when he felt something pinching his back and flowing through his spine. He slowly could move and regain concience. "Rrrrrr...." he slowly got up, first on all fours, then kneeling, and finally standing up, stumbling, almost falling back to the ground, however, he found balance and shook his head. Then he looked up, in front of him, Hellius "Hellius, Kiara-
“Shift back to your human form, then, we can talk.”
Jaken was surprised at his delivery: demanding, almost like if he was his pet. What was going on? Weren't they at peace with each other? They settled that back at Elbion's attack. He growled at him, but at the end, he obeyed, he tried to understand him. Maybe he was just as shooken up as he was. It makes sense: Hellius was Kiara's guardian, he knew her WAY before Jaken. If anyone had the right to behave like that, it was him. He tried to understand him. He shifted to his human form, naked, he picked up his clothes and dressed, eyeing Hellius as well.
He was clean, as if nothing if this ever happened. He was exactly like how he saw him for the first time. On the other side, Jaken had a scruffy, short beard, his human body was furry as well, the torso hair decorating his pecs and abdomen, and even with all that, the scar that he received days ago due to a guard and a misunderstaning was visible. He dressed back up, looked at the guards with fury (both were human now) and spit at their feet. The guards did not react.

You wanted to see me? Let me guess, you came here to look for her…
"<<No, I came here to say "hi", fight with some guards for no reason and get paralyzed by them. What the fuck do you think?>> " but then again, he had to calm down and understand the male elf "You guess right. I am here to see her, is she ok? I need to see her. Is she in her room?"
I thought that you had left Elbion months ago.
Once again, he tried to understand him, but then he HAD to cross his arms. What the hell has gotten into him? Enough! Jaken wouldn't take this shit, and he had a good arguement to hit him back "I did not. I stayed ALL the 4 months. We did see each other during the first month and a half as I helped reconstruct Elbion, but those brats just HAD to play hero with my tail, didn't they? You want the scar as proof?" he raised his shirt, pointing at the scar, he paused and changed the subject "I visited her, every single GOD DAMN NIGHT!! I visited her, kept her company. But where were YOU?!" he aggressively pointed a finger at Hellius "Where were you for the past 4 months? I was too busy during the day to visit her, I worked my ass off to help around and even with all that, I came to her. I talked to her every single night. Hell, I even made this shard a necklace." he showed him the necklace that indeed had the shard hanging from it "I took care of her, but where were YOU?!" even though he was furious right now, a tear of frustration and sadness found its way through his cheek "Now, if we can stop playing this shitty game. Where. Is. Kiara?" he stared at Hellius eyes, behind them, the wolf was growling and snarling at the male elf.

It was like the peace deal they made months ago had been erased or destroyed. The wolf wouldn't REALLY mind that, but if that meant him not seeing Kiara, then there would be a problem...
 
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Kiara

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It was easier for Hellius to talk to Jaken in his human form, somehow it was still hard for him to trust on that black werewolf, maybe because of his appearance? Or was it because Jaken would react by instinct? And that growl didn’t help, but the male elf ignored, trying to understand the wolf. After all, they had settled things a few months ago and started fresh, so no need to get all worked up over it, but once Hellius made his little comment and crossed his arms, Jaken had a burst reaction.
"I did not. I stayed ALL the 4 months. We did see each other during the first month and a half as I helped reconstruct Elbion, but those brats just HAD to play hero with my tail, didn't they? You want the scar as proof?" he raised his shirt, pointing at the scar, he paused and changed the subject "I visited her, every single GOD DAMN NIGHT!! I visited her, kept her company. But where were YOU?!" he aggressively pointed a finger at Hellius "Where were you for the past 4 months? I was too busy during the day to visit her, I worked my ass off to help around and even with all that, I came to her. I talked to her every single night. Hell, I even made this shard a necklace." he showed him the necklace that indeed had the shard hanging from it "I took care of her, but where were YOU?!" even though he was furious right now, a tear of frustration and sadness found its way through his cheek "Now, if we can stop playing this shitty game. Where. Is. Kiara?"
Hellius didn’t react nor responded any of Jaken’s accusations, he didn’t need to explain himself nor proof anything, besides, the werewolf didn’t know what he was talking about. There was not a single day that Hellius had not visited Kiara during the afternoon, also that would explain why they never encountered each other, since Jaken would only see her at night. Hellius remained in silence for a moment, staring right back at Jaken’s eyes, then he sighed.
“Calm down Jaken. I’m not your enemy. I’m not here to stop you from seeing her. She is sleeping in her room, but before I allow you to go there, I need you to calm yourself. I cannot allow you to enter the college if you don’t promise me that you will behave.”
He placed a hand on Jaken’s shoulder, in an attempt to make him relax. The male elf knew too well what the werewolf was feeling, anger, despair, frustration, sorrow and anxiety, he had experienced the same thing, he could relate and understand what the bounty hunter was going through.

When Jaken finally calmed down, Hellius signal the guard to give him a rune, allowing the bounty hunter to enter the college. Once on the inside, Hellius lead the way, both of them walked in silence, only stopping in front of Kiara’s bedroom. Before Hellius opened the door, he turned to Jaken, speaking in a low tone, not wanting to disturb the sleeping female elf.
“I know that you are eager to talk to her, but please, don’t wake her up, let her rest, that’s all I ask. Don’t get me wrong, you can talk to her tomorrow. This was not easy for her too.” He made a pause, analyzing once again Jaken’s appearance. “And to be honest, I don’t want her to see you in that state. You are a mess. I couldn’t care less if you are not taking care of yourself, but the moment that your actions will affect her, then I have to step in. Tell me, if she sees you like this, who do you think she will blame, either than herself?”
His emerald green eyes displaying concern as he locked his gaze with Jaken’s. He was Kiara guardian and he cared deeply for her, so it was natural for him to think several steps ahead in order to protect her. After making his point he opened the door, allowing the werewolf to enter. Hellius stood by the door frame, leaning on it while glancing at Kiara’s sleeping form. There was no word that could express his relief, just the simple fact to see her there made him smile. For a moment Hellius opened his mouth, but he ended up changing his mind, he said nothing. It looked like Jaken was having his moment and Hellius didn't want to disturb him.

Once Jaken was ready to leave, Hellius escorted him to the front gates, where the guards took the rune back. Then the male elf stood by Jaken’s side, shoulder to shoulder, not looking at him.
“I suppose that you will return tomorrow to speak to her, right? Let me just give you a heads up. Take it easy on her, Kiara’s last memory is when she passed out on the cave, plus, she lost the notion of time. What I mean is that in her perception, Elbion attack happened yesterday.”
He then turned, making his way back inside, raising one hand, giving the hint that he was leaving but also to gain the werewolf’s attention.
“Remember what I told you, take this chance to make yourself look presentable. Good night Jaken.” The male elf disappeared inside the college.

-Later that night-
Kiara was surrounded by darkness, but she had no notion of that, it was like her consciousness had ceased to exist. Suddenly soft noises caught her attention, fresh snow being stepped, slowly she opened her eyes, while she struggled to sit. Glancing around, she found herself in the middle of a snowy forest, all covered in white <"Am I still in Belgrath?"> she wondered.
Then something started to fall from the grey sky, she lifted her head and blinked a few times. It was snowing! A little smile graced her lips while she raised a hand, allowing a snowflake to land on it, only then she noticed that the snowflake was not white, it was grey! That was not snow, it was ashes! Ashes were falling from the sky! She looked around one more time, it was a shame, such pure, white snow being stained by the grey ashes. She was so in awe that she didn't even realize that she was not cold, though she was wearing her usual set of clothes. Plus, the forest was filled with silence, there was no wind nor the sound of living animals, as if time nor life existed.

Again, a soft sound reached her long pointy ears, snow being crushed. Finally, she noticed it, a presence, a dark one that sent chills all over her spine. Her head turned by instinct towards it, but she found nothing. She had felt this presence before, so she knew who it was, though this time, the vibes were even darker and scarier.
“Lamb? Wolf?” She called for them, waiting for a response. From the corner of her eyes, she saw a dark shadow creeping between the trees.
“Wolf, where is Lamb?” Still nothing, the shadowy figure just kept crawling in circles around her at a far distance, ignoring her questions. The spellsinger struggled to get up.
“Wolf, why are you ignoring me? And why Lamb is not here!?” She asked once again, already making her way to him, but at each step that she took, the dark creature would back off, but always encouraging her to keep moving. <"Does he want me to follow him?"> Kiara sighed, she would never fully understand, in the end the elf followed after him.

“Where are you takin-“ Before the elf could finish her question, a loud cracking noise echoed under her bare feet. Kiara’s eyes were wide open, as she realized that she was standing on a frozen lake! She had been too focused on following Wolf that she didn’t notice that they had left the forest, entered a glade and were on top of a lake, but worse, the snow covered the thin layer of ice turning it into a deadly trap!!
“What are you doing!?” Fear and urgency laced her voice. The spellsinger tried to take a step back, but it only caused the ice to crack even further. She knew it was a matter of time, she was trapped, she couldn’t move, otherwise the ice would break, but staying still was also not an option! She looked around, trying to seek Wolf's help, only to find him on the other side of the lake, hidden behind a tree.
“WOLF!” She called, but at the same time a deadly sound echoed. The ice cracked loudly, breaking and giving in under her feet. Kiara fell in the cold, dark water that rapidly numbed all her body, making it impossible for her to swim back to the surface. The elf started to sink slowly, falling deeper and deeper into the darkness, her consciousness was fading away. Then a faint whisper echoed in her ears, each time becoming louder and clearer.
wake up… wake up… Wake Up!... KIARA, WAKE UP!!!” This was not Wolf’s voice, Wolf’s voice was more of a growl. No, this voice was darker, deeper and sinister, even a bit haunting with a faint whispered echo at the very end.

In a swift move Kiara opened her eyes, gasping for air, as if she had just emerged from the freezing waters. Her heart was racing and her breathing was a mess, she then looked around, realizing that she was in her bedroom, safe and sound. But, if the scare was not enough, her head ached with a sudden pain. Was that just a dream? Well, more like a nightmare, but why it felt like it carried a meaning? She was not sure. Once she calmed down, Kiara looked at her window, finally the sun was rising on the horizon. She pushed that thought away, right now she had other stuff to worry about. A new day was beginning.
 
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Adriwolf

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The tear of frustration and sadness left Jaken's face and died on the ground, the bounty hunter sniffled and wiped the remains off his face, staring at the eyes of the elf he made peace and suddenly seemed to have been erased. He was waiting for an answer, for an argument to fight back, but instead, the elf kept quiet. Jaken fought hard to not smile, seeing him defensless and with no arguments to defend himself.... it was delightful. However, he did not show any sign of victory, he remained with the face he was making, one more tear trying to escape his eye, but Jaken cut it short by wiping it away. He was about to deliver another blow to him: none of this would've happened if you had trained her on how to defend herself. But instead of that, Hellius spoke first.
Calm down Jaken. I’m not your enemy. I’m not here to stop you from seeing her. She is sleeping in her room, but before I allow you to go there, I need you to calm yourself. I cannot allow you to enter the college if you don’t promise me that you will behave.
He listened to the male elf, guaranteeing him that he will allow him to see Kiara, only if he calmed down. Hellius had a good point. If it was the other way around, Jaken would probably tell Hellius to chill out before entering. Maybe Hellius was right... it was not the best way to enter a college by force while being in his werewolf form. That could come off as threatenng or with the intention of attacking. Besdies, Hellius told Jaken that Kiara was asleep, she probably was tired. He deduced that by all the times that Kiara had magic withdrawal every timme she used a spell, she would get tired and sometimes pass out. And after 4 months of technically using magic, Kiara must be extremely exhausted. And Jaken would not want to disturb her rest with his 'welcome back' greet. Hellius was right.... again, but... he accepted it, this time, he was talking more peacefully, talking to him like an actual person and not a dog. If he is calm then that means that Kiara is ok, that's all he wants to know, after all. When Hellius placed his hand on his shoulder, Jaken looked down and snifled some more, around 4 or 5 tears made their way to the ground as the bounty hunter run his nose with his sleeve. This was the only way he could calm down, by letting it out... normally he would suck it up and go on with it, but this was different. It was the elf that he loved. This was no everyday case. Jaken nodded "ok...." he sniffled one more time and walked in circles, his hands on his hips, getting air and letting the tears out. After 4 circles, he stopped and looked at Hellius, he wasn't crying anymore "I'm ready to see her. I will be calm all the way. I wouldn't want to disturb her."

Once he got the rune, he put it on. He remembered that day that the fake dean had given Jaken a rune that had a truth spell. Normally, he would be paranoid, not trusting the rune, but he didn't care for this one right now. Kiara was waiting for him on her room, for all he cared, he could tell whatever the hell they want him to say, he just wanted to see her. And so they made their way to her dorm, stopping in front of it, he could smell the plants that were inside of dorm. They were still alive, someone had taken care of them... and he knew who it was, looking at her guardian. He deduced that. No proofs, but no doubts. He went for the doorknob, but Hellius stopped him, placing his hand on Jaken's.
“I know that you are eager to talk to her, but please, don’t wake her up, let her rest, that’s all I ask. Don’t get me wrong, you can talk to her tomorrow. This was not easy for her too.” He made a pause, analyzing once again Jaken’s appearance. “And to be honest, I don’t want her to see you in that state. You are a mess. I couldn’t care less if you are not taking care of yourself, but the moment that your actions will affect her, then I have to step in. Tell me, if she sees you like this, who do you think she will blame, either than herself?”
He knew what he meant: his messy hair, his messy face, messy clothes, pretty much EVERYTHING about him right now was messy, and he knew that. At least he had taken a shower everyday... that counts for something, right? He nodded "I understand, I will go back to the motel, take a shower, wash clothes and fix my hair.... maybe I'll keep the beard... I like how it looks, maybe I'll make it smooth for her........." he shook his head "Sorry.... went away there for a sec, but yeah, I'll fix everything up."

When Hellius opened the door, his eyes couldn't believe it.... she was there.... the elf he loved was there, sleeping, breathing relaxingly, she was ok. She was on her bed, with the night behind her illuminating her beautiful body. Jaken sniffled and walked to her, kneeling to her and caressing her face. She was clean and she was wearing a nightgown. She seemed peaceful, serene, perfect. She smelled so nice, he could tell that she had just stepped out of the shower, he sat on her bed, making his legs function as a pilllow for her head, she caressed her smooth and platinum hair. He started to tear up again and cry softly. He pressed his head on her chest, still sobbing quietly. He sniffled. "forgive me.... i am so sorry.... it's all my fault.... i should have never dragged you into this.... i should have stayed away from you...." he cried some more, hugging her body closely, making sure she was still asleep "but i can't now.... i can't be away from you..... it would tear me from the inside out.... i'll protect you.... always.... and God damn me if someone hurts you...." he cradled her body peacfully, he stared at her face.... he wanted to kiss her... so bad... but maybe his beard might make her wake up and disturb her peace, and that is the last thing he wanted to do, and also.... he wanted it to be privately, Hellius was watching, he knew that, and he wanted to kiss her alone, so he restrained himself, even though he fought it so damn hard. Jaken cradled her and hummed her for the next 15 minutes, Jaken lost track of time. But he snapped back after Kiara moved in her sleep, sighing in relaxation and enjoying her rest. He sniffled and looked at Hellius, smiling at him, while tears kept falling "thank you..." one tear fell on her cheek. Jaken sniffled one more time, leaving her on the bed and walking out of it, he wiped the tears away. He took 2 steps before noticing Kiara's old clothes. He could recognize them, they were the ones that she wore when.... the ones she wore 4 months ago....
He took them on his hands and looked at Hellius "I can take these. I can get rid of them, they are all messy and torn, and....." he looked at the blood spot. The same blood spot where that bitch stroke her with the dagger... right in her heart "....bloody...."

He remembered that night, his scream of anguish, the knife going inside Kiara's heart, the smile on that sick lady, and eventually, Kiara's self-protection. He started to shake, letting the clothes fall. His breathing became more erratic, fast, and uncontrollable. He felt like he couldn't breathe. He drove his right hand to his chest, his heart pounding on his chest, it was as if it wanted to burst out of Jaken's heart. Hitting the rib cage, that's how he felt. He stepped out of the room in a hurry and leaned his hands on the wall in front of Kiara's door, struggling and gasping for air. His eyes changed into his werewolf ones, his teeth formed fangs, and his nails became claws, however, that was all that came out of him. He regained control, growling and closing his fists, making the claws scratch him and take some blood out of his hands, he turned around and leaned on the wall, he gasped for air hardly. He trapped his mouth and nose on his hands, breathing in and out, in and out, eventually he started to calm down and began to breathe normally. After 10 seconds, he regained control of his actions, breathing normally and leaning on the wall. His eyes were back to brown, his fangs and claws had become teeth and nails. He was back in control now. He put his hands on his knee caps and leaned in, taking a break from the attack he just had. Then, the werewolf looked at Hellius "I'm sorry." he paused "I don't know what happened there.... I had a panic attack....." he looked at the clothes "I can..... get rid of them for you." he said shyly.

After Hellius took his decison on the matter, they took a break for the next 3 minutes, mainly to let Jaken breath and calm down. Hellius made him feel better by walking out the college, back at the front gates. By then, the guards were back to normal, Jaken returned the rune to the guard.
I suppose that you will return tomorrow to speak to her, right? Let me just give you a heads up. Take it easy on her, Kiara’s last memory is when she passed out on the cave, plus, she lost the notion of time. What I mean is that in her perception, Elbion attack happened yesterday.
"jesus christ..." he trapped his head with his hands, how was this possible? And how would Kiara take it when they meet face to face again? Jaken nodded "ok.... ok.... I'll go easy on her..... thank you, Hellius." he turned around and made his way to the motel, he turned around to look at Kiara's room. 4th floor, 2 door from left to right, but he spotted something else at the front gates.
He then turned, making his way back inside, raising one hand, giving the hint that he was leaving but also to gain the werewolf’s attention.
“Remember what I told you, take this chance to make yourself look presentable. Good night Jaken.” The male elf disappeared inside the college.
Jaken nodded, and with that. He walked away.

Back at the motel, Jaken washed his clothes and let them to dry. He stepped in the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror, his hair was messy: all over the place, with various knots making it difficult to brush and some dirt on it, it's amazing how Hellius allowed him to go inside in the first place, now that he thought about it. How dare he (Jaken) went to Kiara's room looking like that? He grabbed some scissors and cut the hair off. It was left exactly like how he met Kiara, not too short, not too long, ordered, not too many knots... damn.... how long was it since he met her? After that, the wolf stepped in the shower and turned the water on. He felt the water go down his body, his back, his legs. It felt good, having the warm water running through him. He had taken showers, but in lakes, at night, in his werewolf form. This was a relief for his human form, he sat on the bathtub and relaxed, nothing was making noise, not even his breathing, maybe he was too relaxed to even listen to him. He was covered in water with some bubbles on it. He sighed and dipped himself underwater.
What he did after the shower was going to bed. He layed on it and closed his eyes, although he had a hard time falling asleep, thinking on Kiara and how will they meet again, he was able to fall asleep.

In the blink of an eye, night turned to dawn. Jaken woke up and sat on his bed, he yawned, then looked at the window. He got up and took another shower. After that, he made sure that his short beard was smooth for her. It was. By then, the clothes were dried, he dressed up. He caught a glimpse at the drawer: his equipment was there: his daggers and his trusthy crossbow, which now had a name printed on the foregrip: Matilda. It was a stupid name, but.... he liked how the golden letters looked on his crossbow. But this was not the time to admire at his weapons.

He had someone else to admire at the college.

He stepped out and made his way through the reconstructed Elbion.
She was waiting for him.
 
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Kiara

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"I understand, I will go back to the motel, take a shower, wash clothes and fix my hair.... maybe I'll keep the beard... I like how it looks, maybe I'll make it smooth for her........."
For a moment Hellius’ face got serious. There were some things that no “father” or guardian wanted to hear, nor imagine about his child, call it parental instinct, it didn’t matter. Kiara was the daughter that Hellius never had, and for him, she would always be his sweet, innocent little girl. No, definitely not, it was still too early for him to think or worry about that!
The male elf was aware of Kiara’s feelings towards the bounty hunter. He discovered that four months ago, during the soulbind spell that set Kiara free from a deadly curse. Hellius also suspected that Jaken shared some feelings for her, although he didn’t know how deep those feelings were. But, one thing was for sure, if Jaken dared to mess or hurt Kiara, then Hellius would take extreme measures. NO ONE messes with his child and walk away unpunished.

He kept watching the bounty hunter and how he held Kiara dearly. He nod his head in response at Jaken's thank. For a moment, he was glad for their fresh start, not necessarily for him, but for Kiara’s sake, it would be awful if the spellsinger ever discovered that he and Jaken wouldn’t stand each other at the beginning, but thankfully that was in the past.

The moment Jaken had a panic attack, something strange happened, he was starting to shift! Hellius took a defensive stance, placing himself in front of Kiara’s door, blocking the way. If the werewolf had lost control, Hellius would be forced to subdue him, before the situation escalated and got out of control, but luckily that was not necessary, since Jaken rapidly calmed down and regain control.
"I'm sorry." he paused "I don't know what happened there.... I had a panic attack....." he looked at the clothes "I can..... get rid of them for you."
A relief sigh escaped from the male elf, but his eyes were full of worry. “Are you having panic attacks recently or was this the first time?”
Hellius turned his back and picked up Kiara’s clothes, casting a little mending spell, making them look as good as new. The male elf smiled while folding the clothes, placing them on the chair, next to Kiara’s high heels boots. “There is no need, magic can solve minor things like this, besides, this is one of Kiara’s favourite clothing sets.”


Kiara looked at the sunrise, for a moment she wondered what she was supposed to do now? Maybe return to her routine and previous life style? She sighed, it was still hard to believe that four months had elapsed. Then the spellsinger glanced around, her bedroom was neat and clean, and all her plants were green with beautiful flowers. She knew who was the responsible for this, Hellius.
Anyway, it was time to get up, although it was still early. She watered the plants, before taking care of herself and go for a quick shower. Then she returned to the room in order to get dressed. Noticing the clothes on the chair, a smile graced her lips. <"When did he fix them?"> She was about to pick them up when she realized, it was summer now!
The elf walked to the wardrobe, taking out another two piece outfit, also in bluish and pearly white hues with a silver trim. This set was not too different from the previous one, again the skirt was longer on the back than on the front, but the main difference was on the top part, this set didn’t have a little jacket, and the top was backless and sleeveless. Once she was ready, Kiara gave a little spin in front of the mirror, making sure that everything was in place and her hairpin well secured.
As she was about to leave, something crossed her mind, she searched on her desk, but she couldn’t find it. <"Could it be that Hellius took them? I guess that I will have to ask him."> She sighed in defeat, taking her leave.

The spellsinger was nibbling on an apple while she looked around the cafeteria. It was lively as usual, with students in a rush, shoving food into their mouths so they wouldn’t be late for classes. But, why it felt that something was off? After a while wondering Kiara realized that nothing had changed, everything was as it was supposed to be, SHE was the one that was out of place! She felt that she didn’t belong there or that she didn’t fit there anymore.
“Kiara... Kiara, are you listening?” Hellius’ worried voice brought her back to reality, she focused her attention on him.
“I’m sorry Hellius, I was distracted. Could you repeat what you were saying, please?” She smiled for him, trying to show that there was no need to worry. But he knew her too well, Hellius knew what was going on inside her head and it was understandable due to her situation. Then something crossed his mind, a playful grin appeared on his face.
“I was telling you that today you will have a surprise.” That should pick her interest and give her something to look up for.
“What is it!?” Her eyes sparkled with curiosity. Yes, it worked, but Hellius didn’t want to spoil the surprise by telling her that Jaken would come, so he continued to tease her. It was quite amazing of how quick Hellius returned to his usual self after Kiara’s return.
“If I tell you, then it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore, would it?” He messed a bit with her hair, making Kiara pout like a child. He couldn’t help himself, it was so good seeing that she hasn’t changed, then both elves laughed.
“Hellius, by any chance, did you find two enchanted resonance crystals on my desk?” Hellius took something out of his pocket and opened his hand, revealing a tiny purple crystal.
“I found them on THAT very same night. I kept one, the other, I gave it to Jaken, I supposed that that was what you wanted.” He lowered a bit his head, while glancing at the shard, remembering those dark days.
“Yes, it was supposed to be a present for both of you.” Kiara also lowered her head. Those crystals were supposed to mean something good, not be related to something so tragic. Then the bell rang, it was time for Hellius to lecture his first class of the day.
“I have to go now darling.” He kissed the top of her head as he got up. “I will see you at lunch.”
“Ok. I will meet you at your office. Have a nice day and good work.” She waved at him while smiling, then he was gone.
Kiara sighed, feeling a bit alone. <"So… what do I do now? Hellius will only return once morning classes are over... I guess that I could use this time to take care of some affairs."> And with that Kiara left the college. Little did she know that Jaken was on his way to see her. All that crossed the elf’s mind was that most likely the surprise that Hellius mentioned, would be some gift that he would give her during the lunch break.

After a few minutes walking Kiara finally reached the woods. There she gave a well-deserved bath to Fafurion, with a lot of petting. She knew that the nargacuga had watched over her during all that time, so this was her way to thank him. But soon the bath turned into a game where Kiara giggled while Fafurion purred and meowed, both splashing water at each other, enjoying their company, while playing in the cold water, and without realizing, time flew by.

When Kiara’s clothes finally dry, she rushed back, going straight to Gunthor’s stables.
“Kiara! You are finally back!” The orc greeted her with a bear hug, almost crushing her, before lifting the elf in the air.
“Hi Gunthor! I’m sorry if I worried you, but please! Put me down! You are making a scene!” She said between giggles, though she felt a bit embarrassed, since he was treating her like a little child in front of the whole city!
“Right!” He gently put her down. “So what brings you here? Don’t tell me that you are planning to leave the city again!? Do Chronos know about this!? Last time, once he found that I lend Fafurion to you, he came here to scold me. Damnit, that elf can be very persuasive!”
Once again Kiara giggled “No, I'm not leaving. I came here to pay Fafurion rent.”
“That has already been taken care of. So don’t worry about it.” He scratched his nape.
Kiara blinked a few times. “Did Hellius payed my debt?”
“That is something between me and him.” The orc gave a loud laugh, while turning to his horses. Clearly, he was hiding something, but before Kiara could ask, a client approached. “Sorry Kiara, but I have to return to my work. Come to visit me soon.”
“It's ok, thank you for everything. I will.” She smiled at him before turning on her heels.

There was one last place that she needed to go before returning to the college. Fortunately, there was some time left before classes ended. As she made her way, Kiara started to feel anxious. There was a reason why she left this task for last. She was scared of the answer that she could get, already suffering in anticipation. She took a deep breath, then opened the door, entering Merkl’s shop.
“Hello Merkl” She greeted, not really sure if he still remembered her.
“I’m sure that you noticed that some special bolts are missing, if not, then I will just tell you. I came here to pay for the bolts that Jaken took during Elbion’s attack. I'm really sorry to only pay it now. Just tell me the price?”
The elf didn’t say anything about being trapped in the ice crystal. To begin with, she didn’t know that Merkl was there when that happened, and second, she didn’t want to use that as an excuse. Once the lizarman said the price, Kiara paid it. Then she spoke again, this time she didn’t sound as confident as before.
“Merkl… can I ask you a question? Do you know if… if Jaken is still here in Elbion? Or … did he… left?” She lowered her head, her last words almost a whisper.

-In the woods-
Fafurion made his way to the barn, after all those months, he got used to sleep there. Besides, being a night creature, he would sleep in dark places during the day. But, the barn was no longer there. The nargacuga only found a pile of ashes, the barn had burned down, not even a nail escaped from the blazing flames to serve as a proof. The odd thing was, ONLY the barn had burned, not even a single tree had been damaged nor consumed by the flames. How was that possible? Fafurion blew, displaying his discontentment. Now he had no other option than to return to his cave.
 
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Adriwolf

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During the panic attack, Jaken could feel his own heart trying to explode out of his chest, and not only that, he could feel the shift starting. He could feel his werewolf self trying to replace his human self, he could understand why, he was in a strssful situation: a fight or flight situation. He would remain his cool and decide quickly, but this was different. This time, his mind was getting overwhelmed by emotions and memories, he couldn't help it. He tried to regain control, as hard as he could. After the attack, he was surprised that he kept control.... this was.... his first panic attack. He had never experienced one before, not even after the tragic night his parents were killed and he was bit. All he could feel after that was sadness, hell, maybe it was depression. But... never a panick attack. This was new, and frankly, he was glad that he regained control, if he would've let himself transform, it was anyone's guess what could've happened. Especially with Kiara sleeping behind him, what if she woke up? What if Hellius was taken off guard and the wolf went straight to Kiara? He knew that the Wolf would have gone for Kiara... his consciosuness was slipping away. He could feel how his mind started to echo growls and snarls, just like..... just like when the witch forced Jaken's shift to hunt down Kiara...
In the end, he regained control and breathed heavily, he turned around to encounter Hellius protecting Kiara by putting himslef in fron of the door. THis was good, at least Hellius was there to protect her and subdue the Wolf if necessary, damn... what would've happened if Jaken had lost ccontrol and Heelius was not there to protect the elf he loved?
Are you having panic attacks recently or was this the first time?
"It's my first panic attack." he confessed "I've never.... felt like this before.... jesus christ..." he leaned on his kneecaps deeper, taking air and relaxing, his heart rate going down, he looked at the male elf "I'm sorry if I made you scared for her.... I really am." he stood back up and sighed.
There is no need, magic can solve minor things like this, besides, this is one of Kiara’s favourite clothing sets.
The werewolf nodded "yeah... ok... I've always... liked how she looked on them, it was a shame they ended up like that...." he shook his head "Anyway, umm... I should leave and get ready for tomorrow.... thanks Hellius... I really appreciate it." then he thought about how he behaved himself at the front gates, was he out of line? Did he have to right to speak to Hellius like that when they met? He didn't really know, but he knew one thing, he sighed and said "And.... I'm sorry for the ruckus at the front gates... I went... I crossed the line." he looked down ashamed.

Then, they both walked to the front gates where they said good bye to each other. As Jaken walked to the hotel, he couldn't stop thinking about what would've happened if he lost control back there. Or worst, what if he has another panic attack and the Wolf takes control this time? And what if Kiara was there with him, and no one to protect her? Was this the best idea? He didn't know what could trigger said panic attacks, as far as he knew... memories... that's all he could think of: the memories of something that pushed him over the edge, emotionally speaking, that is. So far... that is the ONLY explanation he had for the triggers. Maybe he needed to search for help. Maybe not.... phsychological... but some kind of help... meds?
He wanted to make sure that Kiara would be safe around him, and how safe could she be when a panicked werewolf looses control and goes savage? He needed to meditate and find a way to keep his attacks under control, or else, the price could be higher than he wanted to.... WAY higher.
And with that question on his head, Jaken had a hard time going to sleep, however, it was not immpossible, he ended up falling asleep, somehow.....

He was sprinting through the woods in his werewolf form, the breeze running through his fur, his muscles propelling him further into the infinite trees and bushes. The scent of the trees invading his nose and comforting him, they always smelled good. He stopped and looked the view, the most beautiful and green forest he has seen, it soothed him. He felt something grabbing his right claw, it was smooth.He looked at whatever entity grabbed his claw: it was Kiara. She was smiling at him, with her beautiful hair on her face. The werewolf adjusted some of her hair behind her ear, now her full face was shown to him. The wolf crouched to her, they were eye to eye. The wolf closed his eyes, got closer and kissed her on the lips. He felt her smooth hand touching his snout and caressing his cheek. Even though this was a dream, he couldn't help but to enjoy the kiss, it felt warm and comforting. Nostalgic and lovely. Somehow, inside a dream, he remembered that day when Jaken and Kiara kissed on the field full of white flowers, that moment.... that perfect full moon night... he would never forget it.
"Jaken..." said a voice, he opened his eyes to find Kiara smiling at him.
"Kiara..." he responded and hugged her tightly "I'll never let you go. I promise."
The elf kissed the wolf again. Jaken fell for her, surrendering to her smooth touch and lips. After some seconds they separated, and felt something striking his chest. It felt cold and sharp, he looked at his chest, there was a dagger on it. His breathing became fast and agitated, he looked up, only to find.... her....
"Doggy..... you should not have intervened."
It was the lady... the same one that did the exact same thing to Kiara, but this was a dream, what that bitch did to Kiara was real. The lady kicked him to the ground, the wolf stayed down, too scared to even act, but then, the bounty hunter remembered that Kiara was there too and that he needed to protect her. As soon as he tried to get up, his limbs were caught by something cold, he tried to fight iit, but he couldn't break free. If he wanted to break free he had to know what was going on, then he could think of aa way to get out. He looked at what had trapped him: it was ice. Cold ice. Made his limbs go numb due to the temperature, his limbs were trapped on an ice shard. "LEAVE HER ALONE!!!" he roared at her "LEAVE HER ALONE!!! YOUR VENDETTA IS AGAINST ME!!! TAKE ME INSTEAD!!! JUST LEAVE HER BE!!!" the ice started to climb on his body, covering his torso slowly. The lady stepped in and stomped on the dagger, sending it deeper into his heart.
"Oh doggy, look at you. So weak. So scared. You don't deserve to be a werewolf. You don't deserve her."
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT, YOU PSYCHO BITCH???!!!" the lady laughed at him, the wolf closed his eyes "You are not real, you are not real, this is only a dream, this is not real. You are dead!! DEAD!!! You can't hurt me nor her!!" Jaken opened his eyes to find himself stepping on him, in his werewolf form, the lady was nowhere to be seen.
"You can't run from me.... you can't escape me.... i live inside your head.... i live inside you... and one day.... i will break free and lock you up in my mind like you have done to me for years."
Jaken started to breathe erratically again, he closed his eyes "you are inside my head.... my head is mine to command... i command you.... i command you and you will obey me, no matter what.... you can't control me.... I CONTROL YOU!!!"
The Wolf laughed
"She will be mine."
By then, the ice have covered his neck, leaving his head the only part of his body that was free from the ice. He opened his eyes, only to see the Wolf Holding Kiara in his arms. She seemed... calm.... no.... she seemed blank. Her face was unexpressive, as if she was hypnotized or in a trance... just like.... that day.... that day that Kiara was taken over by the lady and forced her to fight him... no... this couldn't happen, not again!! Jaken started to cry "please..... don't hurt her.... she's all I got...."
"Then this will make it better..." the Wolf bit on Kiara's throat, tearing it apart and letting her bleed out.
Jaken tried to scream, but the ice had taken over his snout, the only thing he could do to describe what he felt was crying, tears and tearscoming out his eyes as he begged for it to stop, but the ice was not in his control. As the ice covered his eyes, he passed out, falling into a deep sleep for the night. The dream he had wouuld not be remembered by Jaken when he woke up, maybe that was for the better... he needed to keep his cool when he meets Kiara tomorrow....

The next morning, Jaken was waiting at the college's front gates, by then, Kiara had left the college, leaving him on his own, eating the sweet bread and milk he bought few minutes ago. He was sitting on a bench. Waiting for someone to come in and tell him about Kiara. That someone was Hellius, or someone to tell him that Hellius or Kiara was waiting for him at any place. He didn't cared how long he had to wait, he just wanted to see her. Maybe she was having a bath, or she was still recovering strength. But he knew that her state may be fragile, so he needed to wait in order to let her rest and regain force.

Merkl had been spending the past days selling products to clients, the usual stuff. He was attending to a burn scar he recieved from the Elbion attack 4 months ago; a fire spitting monster had gotten him on the left leg, place where the scar was. But he could hide it easily, all he needed was to wear some pants or stay behind the counter, where no one could see his leg. He was attending it, putting some cream on it to make the wound heal, when he heard the store open, he left that aside and waited for the new customer to come in. It was someone he recognized: that female elf Jaken was so obsessed with. He did show some surprise to see her, opening his eyes wide, she was alive and well, as if nothing had happened. He was impressed by it, but not enough to jump out the counter and hug her, no... that was someone else's job.
Hello Merkl
"Hhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyy" the lizardman greeted her "Look at youuuuu.... moving and talking.... Jaken's mate." he scoffed "I'm glad to seeeeeeeee yyyyoooooouuuuuuuuu."
I’m sure that you noticed that some special bolts are missing, if not, then I will just tell you. I came here to pay for the bolts that Jaken took during Elbion’s attack. I'm really sorry to only pay it now. Just tell me the price?
The lizardman looked at the elf with his eyes, his slits focusing on her normal eyes. When she tried to pay, Merkl stopped her "Jaken took cccccaaaaarrrrreeeeee of it. He paid eeevvveerrryyyy last coin for them. You two are off the hhhhoooookkkkkk. Don't worry."
Merkl… can I ask you a question? Do you know if… if Jaken is still here in Elbion? Or … did he… left?
The lizardman shook his head "I don't know. I haven't seen him for about tttttwwwwwwoooooo months and a half. Last I heard of hhhhhiiiiimmmmmm, he was expelled form the Eeeeeeelllllllbion reconstruciton program because he aaaaaattttttaaaaaccccckkkkkkeeeeeeedddd some kids playing with his tail, or sssssssoooooooommmmmmeeeeeettttthhhhhiiiiinnnnnggggg. After that, poof!! Like dusssssstttttt. But I'm not ssssuuuuurrrreeeee if he is stil aaarrroouuunnnddd. Sorry."

Jaken wished that he knew at what time classes ended, so that he could ask for Hellius and ask about thee elf he loved. he stood up and walked around the college, he couldn't take being sitting there for a long time, his excitement made him move and relief some stress, waiting for the college bell to ring and let everyone go for lunch, or brea, or whatever they had to let the students and teachers roam free.
Damn... this felt like an eternity for Jaken.
"<<Where are you Kiara? I'm here...>>"
 
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Kiara

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"Look at youuuuu.... moving and talking.... Jaken's mate." he scoffed "I'm glad to seeeeeeeee yyyyoooooouuuuuuuuu."
Kiara couldn’t help but to giggle at Merkl’s comment, then she smiled, recalling Jaken’s reaction and how he would respond 'she is not my mate'.
“I'm not Jaken, and he is not here for you to tease him.” Her smile turned into a sad one before fading. “I'm also glad to see you.”
"I don't know. I haven't seen him for about tttttwwwwwwoooooo months and a half. Last I heard of hhhhhiiiiimmmmmm, he was expelled form the Eeeeeeelllllllbion reconstruciton program because he aaaaaattttttaaaaaccccckkkkkkeeeeeeedddd some kids playing with his tail, or sssssssoooooooommmmmmeeeeeettttthhhhhiiiiinnnnnggggg. After that, poof!! Like dusssssstttttt. But I'm not ssssuuuuurrrreeeee if he is stil aaarrroouuunnnddd. Sorry."
Kiara was shocked, she couldn’t believe what she had heard. Jaken attacked kids? No, that couldn’t be! At least, not the Jaken that she knew. That couldn’t be true! Besides all stories have two sides, and people would always tend to exaggerate, and as a consequence, something small would end up as something extraordinary, maybe this was one of those cases, so the only way for her to believe would be hearing directly from the werewolf.
“That can't be. I’m sure that there is some kind of mistake.” She ended up saying with a serene face.
“You don’t need to apologize. It’s ok… I kind of knew already... You have only confirmed my suspicions.”
This was the answer that she feared. The elf struggled to keep her calm appearance, she didn't want to cry, at least in front of the lizardman.
"Could you do me a favour? When you see him again, please let him know that... I wish him the best of luck and also that I really enjoyed the time that we spent together." Though she was sad, a sweet smile graced her features. It was not hard to tell that she was being sincere.
Kiara lowered her head, she was ready to go, but as the spellsinger turned she noticed the little ointment on the counter, that made her stop and focus her attention on Merkl.
"I'm sorry Merckl, I know that I shouldn't meddle. Its everything alright? I… I couldn't avoid but to notice the ointment... is there anything that I can help you with? You know that I have healing magic, right?"

After Merckl decided to either accept her help or not, Kiara left. She walked slowly through the streets, making her way to the college. She was devastated and her heart broken. She sniffled as tears kept falling, she wiped them. Right now she didn’t care if people were staring at her.
If this was how love was supposed to be, then she didn’t like it. It hurt, it hurt so badly, but she had no one else to blame either than herself. She brought this upon herself. She was aware of the consequences, yet she decided to keep walking on that path! She knew that she was not meant to stay beside him. It didn’t matter what she wanted. It was not meant to be. She never had a chance, and she knew that from the start! He kept warning her ‘she is not my mate, that will never happen’ his words crushing her already broken heart. Even if she tried to suppress those feelings by burying them deep inside, that only increased her pain. She wished that she could forget or erase them. Unfortunately, only time could heal her broken heart now, that would be if time could really ease her sorrow.
Kiara kept forcing to move forward, she just wanted to return to the college, at least Hellius would be there for her. Now the college was right on the other side of the plaza, all she needed to do was crossing it. Though she kept wiping her tears, the spellsinger simply couldn’t stop crying and her vision was blurry. She stopped on her tracks, trying to calm down, she couldn’t appear like that in front of Hellius. Kiara focused on breathing slowly, wiping the tears one last time. The elf was too focused to even notice the familiar figure just a few meters away. Futhermore, her mind wasn't even wasting energy on processing the environment, there was no need, since supposedly, she would never find him there. The one that she loved was not there. He was gone.
 
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Adriwolf

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The lizardman nodded at Kiara's greeting, even though he was not entirely bonded with her, unlike Jaken, he was happy to see someone that was dead coming back to live, and not as a zombie, that is. It wasn't a motive for him to jump from his chai, hug her and crying over her, he was just happy to see her alive and well, thus, his commentary.
That can't be. I’m sure that there is some kind of mistake.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaallllllllll I'm telling you are what IIIIIIIIII'vvvvveeeeeee heaaaaarrrrrrd." the lizardman shrugged "I don't know the ffffffuuuuuuullllll story."
“You don’t need to apologize. It’s ok… I kind of knew already... You have only confirmed my suspicions.”
Merkl stared into her eyes and felt a bit bad for her. He knew that Jaken cared about the elf, or else, the mate joke would not make any sense at all. Besides, after the plan to take her out of the college dungeon? That has to mean something, that plan was only once out of the 2 other plans he has made. And those plans were to collect valuable objects, objects that Jaken cared about. He connected the pieces with that. And the elf also cared for the werewolf, her eyes ratted her out. And it was improved when the elf said the following words.
Could you do me a favour? When you see him again, please let him know that... I wish him the best of luck and also that I really enjoyed the time that we spent together.
"Yyyyyyyyyeeeeeeessssssss, sure. I will tell hhhhhiiiiimmmmm.... although... you could lure him in. Think about iiiiiiiiiitttttttttttt. Jaken is a bounty hunter, he would come to hhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnntttttttt the juiciest bounties out there. Make a false bounty, ppppppppuuuuuuttttttttt it on the bounty board and he will ccccccoooooooommmmmeeeee to you." Merkl winked. As the elf started to walk away, he focused on his injury again, it didn't hurt, but it brought some discomfort, but then he snapped back to reality because of Jaken's mate.
I'm sorry Merckl, I know that I shouldn't meddle. Its everything alright? I… I couldn't avoid but to notice the ointment... is there anything that I could help you with? You know that I have healing magic, right?
"Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh, don't worry. It was just aaaaaaaaaaaa little accident. I'll be fine, thanks..... maybe you should gggggggoooooo and put the fake bounty." he winked again, continuing with his injury treatment.
As the eld left, the lizardman thought on the generosity of the elf, he sighed and continued treating his burn wound.

Jaken had been walking in circles through the plaza, waiting for time to pass. Hellius told him that he would meet up with Kiara during the college lunch break, only problem is: he didn't ask Hellius at what time it was. He groaned in frustration and looked around the plaza, trying to find someone that might be a student of college, although the chances of that are pretty low. Every student SHOULD be inside the school and learning. However, there were ALWAYS some of them. There were always some students that decided that it might be fun to skip college and go have some fun, orr maybe students deciding to take advantage of free periods to buy some snacks outside the college's cafeteria. He just needed to look harder.
This was his chance. His chance to finally meet Kiara after 4 months of only seeing her in a comatosed state. He sighes, he couldn't wait any much longer, he wanted to see her, hug her, caress her, kiss her. He wanted to be there with her... god... IS THERE REALLY NO STUDENT OUT HERE???!!!
Stopping nearby the college, he saw a student that brought him back certain memories: the one student that thought Jaken was hot. She was the only one around, and he didn't REALLY wanted to talk to her, but there were no options left for him. He sighed and walked to her.
"Excuse me."
The girl blushed "A---aren't you-?"
"Yes. I am that werewolf that told you to cut ties with that Erica bitch."
She hid herself in her shoulders "I..... I actually cut ties with her.... thannk you.... h-how may I help you?"
"At what time is lunch break?"
"Oh! Uh, in about...." she clumsly took out a pocket watch and observed it for 2 seconds "In around 36 minutes! Why?"
"I need to see Hellius. Thanks." he walked away.
"Ummmm... excuse me."
The wolf looked back, missing a person that he was eager to see, and it's not like they could have seen each other, the multitude were not letting anyone see what was in front of them.
"Errrr.... I just..... I just wanted to say that...." she blushed more "m-my name is Rachel."
The wolf stayed quiet for a while, he could hear her heartbeat, it was racing. Typical teenage shyness "My name is Jaken." with that he walked away.

4 steps later he got a scent, a familiar scent. He looked at the college's front gates but did nothing. That scent.... so familiar..... Kiara?
 
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Kiara

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Kiara closed her eyes, taking deep breaths, feeling the air entering and leaving her lungs, while her heart rate slowed down. Once she calmed down, the elf returned to her path, entering the college. As she crossed the central garden, she glanced at the clock tower, 36 minutes left. Perfect, there was still time left, so the spellsinger took this chance and went to her room to wash her face and refresh herself, once she was done she went to Hellius’ office.

At the bell ring, Hellius dismissed his class. He found a guard on the hallway and asked him to go to the front gates and escort the bounty hunter to his office. The guard nod and proceed to carry out the order. Hellius didn’t waste must time, Kiara should be waiting for him in the office. The male elf opened the door, finding his little girl staring aimlessly through the window, clearly, she was lost in deep thoughts, but, she looked so sad. Even if there was no trace of the tears, Hellius could tell that she had cried.
"Kiara... its everything ok?" The male elf called for her, while stepping inside the office, closing the door behind him.
The spellsinger turned her head to look at him giving a small smile. "Oh… I didn't notice you entering. Yes... I was just... thinking…”
“Was it about him?” Hellius approached his desk, leaning and seating on the edge.
“Yes… I miss him. I just wished that… at least, I could have said goodbye.” Her voice nothing more than a faint whisper. “Also, I’m still trying to figure it out what I will do now, though I already have something in mind.”
At her words, Hellius locked his eyes on her blue ones. He knew what was about to come, and that made him feel anxious, even worried, but he said nothing, he knew she would tell him once she was ready.
“How were your morning classes? I noticed on your schedule that you will lecture a practice class during the afternoon, do you need assistance?”
Kiara walked to him, moving around the desk, stopping in front of him. Hellius sighed, he hated seeing her so depressed, but he didn’t want to spoil the surprise, it was a matter of minutes now, that is, if Jaken had showed up.
“Classes went fine, thanks for asking, you are such a sweet girl.” Gently he patted her head, trying to cheer her up. Then a grin appeared on his face. “You don’t need to help me, I'm sure that you will have things to do during the afternoon.” Kiara gazed at him, trying to figuring out what he meant by that.
The moment she was about to ask, a knock on the door gained both elves' attention. Kiara turned on her heels to face the door.
“I think that your surprise arrived.” Hellius said not moving from his spot, placing his attention on the door. “Yes, come in.”
The door slightly opened, revealing the guard.
“Professor Chronos, he is here as you asked, sir.”
“Great, let him in.”
The guard moved to open a path, while fully opening the door, revealing a man that was beside him, it was Jaken. Then the guard left. From Kiara’s back, Hellius grin only widened, already guessing how happy she would be to see him. As Jaken entered the office, Hellius discretely nod his head, giving a sign of approval, he was glad that Jaken had listened to his advice, now the werewolf looked presentable.

As the second man appeared in Kiara sight, her heart started to beat faster. That figure and those clothes, unconsciously she knew who it was, her heart ached for him, but the moment her eyes landed on his face, she was taken aback. The spellsinger blinked a few times, her heart had no doubts, but her mind didn't recognize Jaken at once, it took her a few seconds to identify that the man right in front of her, was indeed Jaken, but with a beard. The beard made him look a bit older and gave him a more serious and cold look, giving the vibe of a person that one shouldn’t mess with.
"…Jaken? Jaken!"
She was about to dash to him, but she refrained herself. Somehow, she felt that they had grown distant, as if there was a huge abyss between them. For the first time Kiara realized that indeed 4 months had elapsed, until that moment, she never felt the time gap, since everyone looked the same, Hellius, Gunthor even Merkl, but Jaken, Jaken had changed. What else could have changed aside of his appearance? Did he still see her as a friend? Or would he treat her differently? Being cold and keep his distance like he would do to everyone else? She was afraid, though in her time perception, she had seen him yesterday, she already missed him so much. But, there was a chance that the same might not be true for him.
Kiara felt and heard her own heart resonating in her ears. This was it, the moment of truth. A lot of questions were running in her mind, but her only desire was to jump and hug him tightly. In the end, the elf walked slowly towards him, stopping a few steps away.
"Hello Jaken." She gave him the most beautiful smile. "How have you been?”
Though she tried to sound confident and relaxed, deep inside, she feared for his reaction. The elf closed the distance between them, but as she did so, she lowered her head. Still not confident about her next move, slowly Kiara reached for one of his hands, she hesitated for a moment, but ended up taking it in hers, caressing it gently, while she spoke.
“I'm sorry. I don’t fully understand what or how it happened, but… I'm sorry for any trouble that I may have caused you… Could you please forgive me?”
Her voice was so small and filled with sorrow. She didn’t have the courage to look at his face, fearing to discover an annoyed look or worst. She focused all her attention on his hand, looking for any sign that could give her the hint that he wanted her to let him go. Anything, even the slightest gesture given by him would be enough to make her release his hand.

Hellius didn’t say anything, he just kept looking at them, especially to Kiara, trying to read and guess what was going on inside of her. Somehow, he was still worried. After all, Kiara had woken from a frozen slumber on the previous night. He kept watching as the situation developed, but he didn’t meddle. This was their moment and theirs alone, for better or for the worst.
Once elf and werewolf finished their re-encounter, Hellius, cleared his throat, trying to gain their attention.
“I don’t mean to interrupt, but…” He said, glancing at both of them, before making eye contact with Kiara “It’s time for me and Kiara to have lunch. I still have classes to lecture afterwards. But, both of you can continue the talk later.” Then the male elf turned his attention to the bounty hunter. “I don’t know if you already ate, but, if you want and don't mind, you can join us.” Hellius was only being polite, it would be rude leave Jaken apart, or eat while he starved.
 
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Adriwolf

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He could hear the steps and the chatter pass him by. The people continuing with her busy day, they had places to go, activities to do, people to meet.... people to meet.... Jaken was one of them, and if that was the case... why wasn't he moving? Why was he sitting there, not doing anything? He should be doing something, at least, that is what he felt. But he knew he couldn't do ANYTHING, all he could do was wait. Wait for 36 long minutes, each second seemed like 5 minutes, hell, he could stand up right now and buy a pocket watch JUST so he could keep track of time and know how much time did he had left. He sighed and waited there. Kiara was waiting for him, so... how would she react? The time gap, according to Hellius, had disoriented her. And him with the beard... how will she react? Beards don't grow every 5 minutes, it takes time. So for a it allowing it to grow, there had to be some time in betwee, thus, how will Kiara reacct? Will she become more dioriented? Will she get impressed by the beard? Will she hate how he looks? He sighed and though about it: it wasn't about the beard, it was about how will she respond to their encounter. He leane back on the bench and closed his eyes.

Minutes later, some guard called for him, he opened his eyes and looked back "Yeah?"
"Professor Chronos wants to see you."
The werewolf's eyes lit and stood up in a jump, he followed the guard to Kiara's room. With a run around his neck, Jaken wondered how will it happen. He couldn't keep his mind off that, and it made him nervous, his heart beating faster and stronger than ever. In order to call himself down, he looked around the college, now that he was thinking of it, he never REALLY got a chance to see the place Kiara called home. The hallways seemed nice and clean, contrasting how dark and bloody they were when Elbion was under attack. The students walking around the hallways, some were eating, some were studying, some were minding their own business. Is this what a college looked like? Always moving, always active? All Jaken could remember from his academic life were the same hallways, same activities. Hell, it was EXACTLY like high school before he was bit. And even though it was the same, it felt... different. It felt like a new thing to witness. Was this ok? Apart from the students, he looked at other classrooms as they made their way through the college. They passed through the potion classroom where he was placed during Elbion's attack after he broke his ribs in a fall. They passed the lobby, where trees grew and students walked around. Such an active place. It was like a mini Elbion, amazing. But then, the guard stopped, without him noticing, they had made it to Hellius's office. He breathed deeply, getting ready for what was about to come. His heart pounding on his chest, but always remaining in control. The guard opened the door.
“Professor Chronos, he is here as you asked, sir.”
“Great, let him in.”
And the guard stepped away. his heart was hitting his ribs roughly, however, when he had a clear view of the office, his heart stopped. And there she was, although he had seen her yesterday, it was like seeing her for the first time. Standing tall, clean, healthy, beautiful. He wanted to say soomething, scream her name and run to hug her, but he couldn't something inside him told him to not doing, no... it didn't told him to... it made him not doing it. He stepped in the room, staring at Kiara's blue eyes. He smiled at her while a tear of joy fell down his eye and ran through his left cheek. However, she seemed... confused. Her face seemed... with lots of question, as if she was processing who or WHAT was in front of her. But he had to get her. All of this was striking her like a slap. She woke up from a 4 month coma yesterday, and all of these things were slapping her on the face. He stepped closer. His voice cracking due to the cry "kiara." he looked at her eyes.

…Jaken? Jaken!
"Kiara!!" he knew that it was time to do it, he embraced her in a tight and warm hug. She was still there... she recognized him. She still remembered him. It felt so good having her back. It felt so good taking her into his arms and hugged her tightly, he sniffled on her hair as he cried more and hugged her tightly. Her head on his chest, making her listen to her heartbeat, it was steady, and beating fast, not enough to mske someone anxious, it was the beat of someone that was relieved because of something miraculous happening. He wrapped her in his body. After 4 months of waiting for this, he finally got it, and it made him feel so good. He thought that he would never get a feeling like this EVER. He thought he had lost her, he thought that she might never come back and hug him. But that thought was gone. She was with him, being embraced by the wolf she had an adventure with. And as for the werewolf, it would be hard to let her go. He didn't want to let her go. He wouldn't!! The wolf transmitted his feeling to her during the bodily connection: happiness, relief, satidfaction, and most importanly, love. Love that he had never confessed to Kiara during the time of the S.A.P. ordeal. After minutes of Jaken hugging the elf he loved and crying, he let her go, letting her breathe "I missed you so much...." he sniffled "Welcome back." he gave her the sweetest of smile.

But then... something... odd happened:
"Hello Jaken." She gave him the most beautiful smile. "How have you been?”
She seemed... more confused than she was, making the answer underwhelming for the wolf. But he tried to get her: the time gap, the 4 month long coma... even him would be disoriented, although, he wasn't sure, he hadn't suffered it...
He smiled at her, holding her soft hands on his "I'm fine." he sniffled "I'm better now that you are here." he caressed her cheek, it felt smooth, like a pillow made out of silk. He looked at her face: soft, delicate, good as new "I've missed looking at your eyes..." he sniffled "So soft and beautiful." he hugged her again, but this time, he began to cry.
I'm sorry. I don’t fully understand what or how it happened, but… I'm sorry for any trouble that I may have caused you… Could you please forgive me?
He noticed how she was looking down at his hand, was she... nervous? Distressed? Confused? "Hey." he placed two of his fingers on her chin and made her look at his face, eye to eye contact. It felt good, like they have connected after 4 months. Sure, he had the purple shard (which he will show to her later), but it wasn't the same as looking at her and talking to her "It wasn't your fault..." he looked down "It was mine... I should've take care of you, I should've looked after you when you were in danger, but now..." he looked at her "But now that doesn't matter. You are here... that's all I could ask for." he hugged her when more time, wanting to break it and kiss her on the lips, but then he remembered that Hellius was behind them. And he wanted the kiss to be private, so all he did was kissing her on the cheek.
"Welcome back Kiara."

“I don’t mean to interrupt, but…” He said, glancing at both of them, before making eye contact with Kiara “It’s time for me and Kiara to have lunch. I still have classes to lecture afterwards. But, both of you can continue the talk later.” Then the male elf turned his attention to the bounty hunter. “I don’t know if you already ate, but, if you want and don't mind, you can join us.”
He sniffled and looked at Hellius, with tears in his eyes "I'd love to." he looked at Kiara "What do you say? Want to have lunch and catch up?" he leaned his forehead on hers, smiling at her eyes.

The trio made their way to the caffeteria. Jaken could still not eblieve it. It was as if everything went back to normal... in some way. Kiara was with him, she remembered him, and they were not ebing threatened every 5 minutes by a secret pack. But... it felt different in a way. But it was a small difference. One that Jaken couldn't care less about. She was there with him, walking by his side. He would sometimes look at her with loving eyes. As they sat on a table, they started to eat their lunch, Jaken lost in Kiara's eyes.
She was there...

Jaken was thinking on a way to make her feel better, or to start a converstaion, but what could he say or ask without making the conversation awkard? 'So what do you remember?' 'How did it felt like being trapped in an ice shard for 4 months?' 'My reputation has decreased w¿since I was kicked out from the Elbion reconstruction plan.' No, that seemed wrong. He had to find a way to make it less awkward. He glanced at Hellius for help in the unusual situation.

But then, something came to his mind... maybe....?
"I still owe you the library trip." he said at Kiara's eyes "We never got the chance to do it."
 
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Kiara

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As Jaken’s brown eyes locked with Kiara’s blue ones, her heart skipped a beat, it knew and there were no doubts. But that beard, it took her mind a few seconds to connect the dots.
The werewolf hugged the elf, clearly the encounter was overwhelming for him. It was for Kiara too, though in another way, the elf was stunned. Was she dreaming? Slowly Kiara returned the hug, still not sure if this was an illusion nor how she should act.

Her reaction caught not only Jaken but also Hellius by surprise. In fact, Hellius was expecting a more enthusiastic reaction. Maybe Kiara was shocked, after all, she thought that he was gone and that she would never see him again. For a moment Hellius regretted it, seeing how Kiara was reacting to the situation, maybe he should have told her beforehand, but now it was a bit too late.

"I'm fine." he sniffled "I'm better now that you are here." he caressed her cheek, it felt smooth, like a pillow made out of silk. He looked at her face: soft, delicate, good as new "I've missed looking at your eyes..." he sniffled "So soft and beautiful." he hugged her again, but this time, he began to cry.
Kiara finally started to react, snuggling a bit on his large hand, it was warm and it felt so good. “I missed you too, Jaken.” She said in a soothing voice, locking eyes with him, giving the sweetest smile, in order to calm him down. Gently Kiara wiped the tears away from the bounty hunter’s face, feeling his beard ticking under her hand. It hurt her seeing him crying. “I’m sorry… I’m back now, so please, don’t cry, otherwise I will start crying too.” The elf held the smile, though her eyes were starting to get teary. She hugged him, hiding her face on his chest. She could hear a heartbeat, though she was not sure if it was Jaken’s or her own, but it made her feel calm. Slowly all her worries were dissolved. Though the beard gave Jaken a more intimidating look, the werewolf hadn’t changed, he still was the man that she knew and loved. And being in his arms, Kiara felt warm, cosy, protected and secure. In his arms she was happy, and complete, feeling that her place was to be by his side.
How could the bounty hunter have so much power over her? First her heart was broken and she felt devastated, but now, it was beating in pure bliss. Jaken was the only one that could make her feel like that. Though she had decided many times to hide her feelings and fulfil her role as a good friend, Jaken would come and throw all her plans out of the window, she was like a teenager that didn’t not have emotional maturity, slowly going insane. She knew what was about to come, she had a glimpse of it, and she was afraid that she wouldn’t get out of it alive. Kiara was a sick elf, with a dangerous disease called love, where the final symptoms were pain, tears, despair, sorrow and heartaches. Kiara was running in circles, she was becoming unstable, and clearly something had to change. If only she was strong enough...

"What do you say? Want to have lunch and catch up?" he leaned his forehead on hers, smiling at her eyes.
“ I would love to.” She returned the smile, closing her eyes for a moment, enjoying his presence. How long would her happiness last this time?

In the cafeteria, both elves ate in silence, clearly something was troubling their minds.
“Hellius… if you knew that Jaken was still on Elbion, why did you say the other way around?”
Kiara was the first to speak, though this was not what she has in mind. Kiara’s mind was still thinking about what Merkl had told her. Jaken attacking kids, there was no way. But right now, it was not the time nor the best place to ask Jaken.
“I’m sorry Kiara, but when I told you that, I didn’t know that Jaken was still here. I only discovered when you fell asleep... I just kept the secret during the morning because I wanted to make you a surprise.” The male elf sighed, though he was not the kind of man to explain himself to others, Kiara was special, clearly both elves shared a deep and strong bond.
"I still owe you the library trip." he said at Kiara's eyes "We never got the chance to do it."
Kiara’ eyes widen, sparkling in enthusiasm. “Is that an invitation?” She giggled teasing him a bit, a gorgeous smile graced her features. “I’m free during the afternoon, if you want, we could take this chance and go there. But if you have plans, we could go another day.” She looked at him in a lovely manner.
As the bell rang, marking the end of lunch time, the male elf stood up, stopping to look at Kiara.
“I have to go now, but I believe you are in good company. If you end up going to the city, please, make sure to not return too late. And be careful, alright?” He smiled.
“Hellius, I’m not a child anymore.” The spellsinger sighed, but with a smile on her lips.
“Darling, you should know, you will always be my beloved child. No matter how old you are.” Hellius caressed the top of her head, messing a bit with her hair, though he was teasing her, he cared deeply for her. Kiara pouted while fixing her hair, before giggling a bit, not noticing the glance that Hellius had given to Jaken, one of -take good care of her- then he left.

It was a hot day, the sun stroked Elbion’s streets. Thankfully the streets were almost empty, most of the people were still eating or took shelter in their homes. That gave Kiara more freedom to walk on the shadow, trying to remain cool.
As elf and werewolf made their way to the library, something caught the elf's attention. A cute orange tabby cat was sleeping on a door step, just a few meters away. Most likely the adorable fur ball was enjoying a good nap after a good meal. That made Kiara smile, she simply couldn’t take her eyes of the feline, clearly the spellsinger loved animals. But as they got closer, the cat opened his green eyes, staring at the duo as if something had disturbed his lazy sleep while getting up. Then suddenly the cat behaviour changed drastically, when they were a few steps away the cat took an aggressive stance, his fur bristled, as he hissed loudly, scratching the air in a threatening way. That caught Kiara by surprise, forcing her to look back. Only to see the cat laying down and return to his sleep. That was all that about? Why did the cat react like that? She didn’t know. Kiara glanced at Jaken, as if trying to understand what had just happened back there. But she said nothing, focusing once again her attention on the path. The library was close and It didn’t take long for the magnific building to appear at the end of the street.
 
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Adriwolf

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Once the werewolf saw the elf snuggling to his hand, he knew that she was still there. Even after all these months trapped in time, frozen on it, she still remembered something about what it was like before the shard. He knew she knew what had ahppened, but the time gap could have influenced how she was thinking on how were things processing through her head. And even with that, it seemed that she knew who's hand was it. As if she recognized after not feeling it for a long time. When she said that she missed her too, that was when the werewolf broke in tears, smiling at her, showing her his teeth and expanding his beard. He locked eyes with her. She was calm, not crying. And he liked it that way. If she cried, then he would fell guilty. If he had been faster 4 months ago, none of this would've happened. If she is calm, he can be calm as well. Feeling her hand crossing his eyes to wipe a tear away made him feel safe. He even stopped one of her hands on his cheek and snuggling to her: it felt soft and comfortable, his beard coming in contact with her soft hand. He held her, holding her hand against his cheek as he smiled to her. The bounty hunter kissed her hand and held them in a tender fist. The wolf saw her starting to tear up, was it joy? Regret? Sadness? He didn't know, but he didn't had time for that, as the elf embraced him once again. The werewolf embraced back, hiding his face on her head, while her's rested on his chest. Jaken focused on his hearing, he picked up a beat. A heartbeat. He knew it was Kiara's. She seemed calm, steady, as if everything was okay. And he liked feeling that. They wouldn't have to worry about anything now. Everything was over and they were together again.

Feeling the elf in his arms made him feel secure. He felt that way because he was protecting the elf that he loved. Protecting her from the dangers of the outer world. But then... he thought... how could he keep it that way? How could he protect her? Last time he tried to protect her, she ended up being controlled by a psychotic woman and forced her to attempt to kill Jaken, only for her to be trapped in an ice shard for 4 months. Such a good protection...
How could the wolf keep her safe? Of course he wouldn't lock her up in a basement where everything is safe like an insane, overprotective man. He would let her be above ground and explore, but he still felt nervous about her safety... but... so far, there was no reason to fear for that. They were not in any REAL danger, not like THAT night where she ended up frozen in time. But still... danger was out there: kidnappers, killers, rapists. EVERY danger was out there, so... how could he protect Kiara from that. His heart started beating fast, making him more nervous, on the verge of having another panic attack. However, he snapped back when Kiara backed away from the hug and stared at his eyes.
Her eyes.... so peaceful and calming, that made his heart rate go down and for him to calm down. He smiled back at her and caressed her soft hair

Hellius… if you knew that Jaken was still on Elbion, why did you say the other way around?
That made the werewolf look up to them. This had turned into a tense situation, as far as he felt. He knew Kiara wouldn't get mad at Hellius, how could she? They are pretty much father and daughter at this point, hell, even before Jaken met Kaira. And especially on Kiara's point of view. Apparently, Hellius had told Kiara that he left Elbion, or at least that is what he understood. He had a reason to talk now, but he deccided to stay quiet, waiting for the elf's answer on the question, maybe he could give a satisfoactory answer on why would he tell Kiara that Jaken had left Elbion.... no, it wasn't that. It was on Hellius' knowledge about Jaken's whereabouts. He still kept quiet, let him answer, maybe there was something that Hellius had missed by accident, or forgotten. But most importantly, at what time was Kiara talking about?
I’m sorry Kiara, but when I told you that, I didn’t know that Jaken was still here. I only discovered when you fell asleep... I just kept the secret during the morning because I wanted to make you a surprise.
So, if Hellius didn't really know about it, then it should have been last night when Kiara woke up and wandered around town, arriving to the college, where Hellius MOST LIKELY picked her up. And his reason to believe that Hellius knew about Jaken's whereabouts where supported once he said that he knew about it once she fell asleep. So far the wolf could tell, the elf was telling the truth. He stepped in. "Yeah... one shocker of a surprise aiin't it?" he looked at Kiara's eyes as he smiled at her once again, trying to make things settled, he would hate for this catch up to be uncomfortable over a misunderstanding. "Hope you liked it." he chuckled.
And it made it so much better when Kiara's eyes widened with enthusiasm over his invitation to the library. Seeing her with so much joy, like a small child... it made him happy. He smiled at her "Maybe. I don't know if you could count that as an invitation." he gave her a teasing nod, following her game "I have NOTHING to do this afternoon. We can go straight to the library once we finish our meal." he stared back at her with those same loving eyes.

Once Hellius had to go, he nodded at the elf when he gave him the look that described that he should take good care of her. He would. He would not let anything happen to her. In fact.. he would train her to defend herself, she had defensive magic and strategies to get her out of tough situations, just like she did when the witch forced his shift... he would sometimes think about that... damn....
Once they finished their meal, both werewolf and elf made their way out to the big city of Elbion. Although it seemed a bit smalled on height due to the damages of Elbion's attack, it had ALMOST the same activities as if when it was not.
Jaken walked besides Kiara, looking at her from time to time, then he looked at her hand... should he hold it? He tried to make the move, slowly going for her hand, but when he was about to grab it, the elf turned away to look at something, stopping on the road. The werewolf looked at where she was looking: a cat sleeping on a door step. Jaken wasn't really fond with cats, made him wonder if that was because he technically had a bit of canine inside of his head. but if Kiara loved cats, or animals in general, and decided to stare at them, Jaken would wait for her, besides, it was her day, let her do whatever she wants. However, the cat seemed to notice their gaze, then hissed and clawed at the air, then went back to sleep once the cat had fallen back to sleep. The werewolf noticced Kiara's confused expression "Maybe I scared him with my werewolf self through my eyes, who knows. Or maybe cats being jerks, that's probably the most logical explanation." he smiled at her and patted her shoulder.
He did not try to go for the hand grabbing plan.

Once they arrived at the library, the wolf opened the doors for her. Due to the attack, the library wasn't as full or as big as it could have been before the attack "Sorry if it is a disspointment. The library suffered with the attack. Some libraries donated books, but still... it isn't as full as it was. I'm sorry." he gave her a sad, small smile.
 

Kiara

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"Yeah... one shocker of a surprise aiin't it?" he looked at Kiara's eyes as he smiled at her once again, trying to make things settled, he would hate for this catch up to be uncomfortable over a misunderstanding. "Hope you liked it." he chuckled.
“Of course, I liked it.” Kiara returned the smile, her eyes filled with love. “I was just not expecting the beard.” She giggled teasing him a bit more. “But, it suits you.” The elf lowered her head, blushing a little bit. To be honest, it didn’t matter if Jaken had a beard nor not, she simply loved him.
Noticing it, Hellius couldn’t help himself, she looked so adorable when she blushes. The male elf turned to Jaken with a playful grin.
“Did you know that, you were the first person that she asked about, once she arrived?” He faked a hurt expression. “She could have asked for me. But no, instead, she was more concerned about you. That hurt my feelings.” He glanced at Kiara waiting for her reaction.
“It was not like that!” And there it was. The elf blushed even more, lifting her head to look at her guardian, clearly, she was embarrassed.
“Oohh… So you deny it?” The teased even further, resting his chin on his hand, enjoying her cute reactions.
“No! … I… you… but you were right in front of me! And you were fine! So, naturally I asked where Jaken was! Besides, you know that I care about you as well! You are very important to me!” She stumbled on her own words as she tried to explain herself. Now even the tip of her ears was pink.
Hellius suppressed a chuckle. How innocent could she be? He loved that side of her. For a moment Hellius expression turned into a thoughtful one, continuing with his game.
“Hmm.. Now that I think about it, it makes sense. You are right. How silly of me.”
Then he laughed, exposing his intentions to Kiara. The spellsinger pouted, realizing Hellius' intentions and what he had made her say, but in the end, she giggled. She would never get mad at him, how could she? He was like a father to her.
It was quite amazing how both elves personalities would change. While Hellius would display a more affectionate and playful version of him, Kiara would become more childish. But the male elf was a clever and astute elf, and with the passage of years, he learned how to get information without the need to ask for it. Although the little game had the purpose to tease Kiara, it would also reveal a bit of Jaken’s feelings. Hellius just needed to pay attention to the little reactions that would give the werewolf away.

"Maybe I scared him with my werewolf self through my eyes, who knows. Or maybe cats being jerks, that's probably the most logical explanation."
“Don’t say that. Cats are cute and adorable. Maybe he just got intimidated or uncomfortable with the stare. I didn’t know that cats have the ability to feel that you are a werewolf. Does that only apply to cats or to other creatures as well?” Her voice laced with curiosity.
Now that she thought about it, she knew so little about werewolves. Everything that she knew was what she had read in books, basically general knowledge, or from the small conversations that her and Jaken had had about that matter.

As the bounty hunter opened the doors, the elf thanked him, giving a lovely smile. Jaken could have a badass and intimidating aura, but deep down, he was very thoughtful and possessed a golden heart. These were some of the reasons why Kiara fell in love for him.
Stepping in, the spellsinger looked around. Clearly the library suffered with the attack, some wings were still being repaired, and surely, many books had been burned or destroyed. It was a shame losing knowledge like that.
"Sorry if it is a disspointment. The library suffered with the attack. Some libraries donated books, but still... it isn't as full as it was. I'm sorry." he gave her a sad, small smile.
Kiara looked at him, shaking her head in denial. “Why are you apologizing? It’s not your fault. So, don’t worry. Besides, the most important thing is still here. Thank you fulfilling your promise.” The elf got on her tip toes, placing a gentle, soft kiss on his cheek. Clearly, she was not referring to the books, but she wouldn't tell him that.

Her eyes sparkled as she glanced at the all those books. She loved being there, and even though the library was not on its full splendour, Kiara was still impressed. So many books and so little time. Clearly the elf was excited, moving from side to another, like a child in a candy shop, trying to decide which one she would read first. It didn’t take long for Kiara to have a book in her arms, a magic book. Knowledge was never too much, and on her grimoire, there would always have space for new spells.
As the elf made her way to the reading tables, another book caught her attention. An old, heavy one, with a brown leather cover, it was on the top shelf. The spellsinger tried to reach it, the tip of her fingers brushing against the hard cover. It was too high. Why she had to be small for an elf? If only she was a few centimetres taller. She tried again, still wouldn’t grab it, and that made her feel frustrated. Kiara looked around trying to find a ladder, but no such luck. She sighed, there was no other option. Once she made sure that no one was watching, the elf gave a little jump, finally catching the book, pulling it out a bit, but… it was still on the shelf. Kiara pouted, she wouldn’t give up, not after that embarrassing jump! That book would come with her! Getting on her tip toes, Kiara stretched her arm, finally, she grab it, a victorious and proud smile graced her lips.

Taking a seat, Kiara glanced around, finding Jaken wandering between the corridors. The elf summoned her grimoire before opening the magic book. In no time, the elf was translating and copying some spells to the grimoire, she even found some interesting spells that involved and required Resonance Crystals, since she had two spare crystals, why not? It could be useful one day. That made her recall what Hellius had told her, that Jaken had one of the enchanted crystal, but, did he kept it?

After a good session of study, the elf was ready to satisfy her curiosity, since the second book was about all kinds of creatures such as dragons and wyverns, it didn’t take long for Kiara to devour that chapter, since the elf always wished to encounter one of those creatures. As she flipped the pages, she found other creatures like unicorns, fairies, chimeras, wendigos and werewolves... werewolves, that made the elf stop. Once again, she looked at her surroundings, trying to see if Jaken was around, he was not. Wasting no time, the elf started to read that page, hoping to understand and know more about the man that she loved.

Sensing Jaken’s presence, the elf swiftly turned the page, before placing her attention on him.
“Found something interesting to read?” She asked in a sweet tone, smiling, trying to look as natural as possible. What if Jaken had noticed what she was reading? That could give away her feelings for him and that couldn’t happen! The elf lowered her head, focusing once again on the book, but, what she saw on the next page caught her interest. A mysterious, humanoid owl looking creature named Fukurou, that possessed a great understanding about the supernatural and could link and walk between realms and plans. It was believed that this creature lived between the Howling Forest and the Forgotten Valley. Nothing more, there was not much information about it. That only increased Kiara's curiosity.
“Jaken, did you ever heard of a creature named Fukurou?” Kiara whispered, turning the book to the werewolf. Maybe, the bounty hunter had heard or encountered this creature before, since he travelled a lot.

After Jaken’s response Kiara's interest, only grew. Kiara took a mental note to search more on Elbion’ college library and archives, or ask Hellius, since her former mentor had a vast knowledge, that was one of the many reasons why she had a great respect and admiration for him.
The library silence was broken with a faint thud noise, as the spellsinger closed both books, taking a deep sigh. She had lost track of time, this would not be the first and neither the last time that she would get lost between books, scrolls and old pages. Sometimes she would only realize how late it was once she felt hunger or it was getting dark. Anyway, after all that reading and study the elf was ready to leave.
 
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Adriwolf

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354
"The beard?" he scrathced it, it waasn't because of an itch, it was more of a 'point to' signal "Well, I've gotten used to it. Didn't really cared for it. But... yeah, I like how it looks on me." he gave her a small smile. He noticed how Kiara looked down and blushed a bit. Self image was not really in the priority list for Jaken, but now... maybe it was something to consider. Maybe Kiara liked how it looked, sure, she just confirmed, but mmaybe she REALLY liked it, thus, the blush on her face. Maybe if he investigated deeper into the matter, being Kiara's likes on bodies, then maybe he could exploit it and have some fun with it. Of course, that was just a random thought the werewolf had in his bliss. How could he not be in bliss? The elf he loved was back to the world of the living and with him. After 4 months of loneliness, he had the right to feel happy for what was happening. And he will make it better, he just needed to think on fun, silly stuff to make it happen. However, the thoughts were broken when Hellius talked to him, informing him that Kiara asked for him first than anyone. That made the werewolf open his eyes widely. "R-really?" he lowered his head. She REALLY cared for him. Even though Hellius was the only one she encountered, she still asked for him. That was amost enough to push him off the edge and begin to cry again. After eveyrthing that she had to go through, after all the pain and torment she had to endure, hell, even everything that Jaken has done to her: hunting her down in his wolf form, making her go through the hell that was Elbion during its attack, and finally, her being controlled by that woman that ended up being the cause why she was stuck in time. even after all that.. she asked for him.
However, he was saved by the male elf himself, faking a hurt face. That's when he knew that Hellius was teasing Kiara and her call. The wolf couldn't help but to smile andd chuckle after hellius comment on how Kiara "hurt" his feelings. And Kiara's reaction made him laugh out loud. For once, it was nice to have a nice meal and a good time. All he could feel the last 4 months was anger, sadness, guilt, and nothing. There were times were he felt absolutely nothing, not even all the emotions that governed him for the past 4 months. It was nice to have this little break and laugh with people Jaken knew and respected. It was lovely to see Kiara blush and try to defend herself on a harmless battle against Hellius. Seeing her like this, "fighting" with his guardian, like a small child would to make a point on an argument they clearly can't wait and will resorrt to any silly excuse to give themselves a point. It was amusing for the wolf, who couldn't stop laughing under his breath at the teasing competition. He tried his best to make a scene with his laughter, which he didn't, but his laughs could still be heard on the cafeteria, but nobody paid attention to them, as they blended with the active lifestyle of college. Kiara's pout was the cherry on top of the cake. It was perfect to end it like that.
"Alright children, that is enough for the day." he smiled and chuckled, looking at Hellius "Back off, clearly she can't win in this argument. Give her a break." he laughed, making his "hostile" commment a joke. He then looked at Kiara and placed his hand above hers as he smiled at her eyes "Thank you."

Don’t say that. Cats are cute and adorable. Maybe he just got intimidated or uncomfortable with the stare. I didn’t know that cats have the ability to feel that you are a werewolf. Does that only apply to cats or to other creatures as well?
"First thing: they are not. Cats are not 'cute and adorable'. They hiss at you when you try to be friendly, they scratch you when you try to hug them and they are interested jerks... also, I am a werewolf. So I have a bit of canine in me. Does that get me off the hook? And secondly... I don't know. I never really thought about it: if animals can detect my wolf form inside me. What I just said was a silly theory..." he paused for a moment "I don't think animals can detect my inner werewolf in my human form. I never really stare at animals, I just hunt them down to eat. I'm sure there are supernatural creatures that can detect that I'm a werewolf, not that I've met one, but it is a big place out there, surely some creatures can detect me. As for animals, I'm not sure." what Kiara brought to the table was interesting. IF animals could detect him as a werewolf, how would they be? Would they run away? Would they find certain confidence on him if it were canines. Werewolves can detect each other by scent, at least, that is what he have heard... now that he thought about... he had never met other werewolves, as far as he knew, he was the ONLY werewolf in Elbion. That was... interesting, and surely would explain why he was the ONLY one being looked at during the Elbion reconstruction program. Should he share this thought with Kiara? Maybe not. Not now, at least. This was no time for questions like that. It was time to catch up and enjoy the day, and their next stop was the library. He could find time to share his doubts with Kiara later. Now it was not the time.

Once on the library, the bounty hunter smiled at the elf for her approval. He looked into the library. It was indeed smaller than before, or at least, it looked emptier. Comparing to Jaken's memory when they visited the library during the S.A.P. ordeal, that is. It was smaller, emptier, and still with some repairings to do. He thought that Kaira might be dissapointed or even sad about this failure of a trip. After all the hype that Jaken and Kiara had built up for the moment, and this is how it actually is? Dissapointing. However, it seemed that Kiara didn't really mind due to the wolf feeling her soft lips on his cheek, right above the beard. The wolf blushed due to the surprise and smiled, turning away a bit as to cover up his blushing, he liked how it felt. "Y-yeah, sure thing, I owed it to you after all."
While Kiara went away to investigate the library, he advanced and looked for something to do. Libraries weren't really Jaken's thing, but seeing how Kiara wandered the library like a small child, he could bet that they would stay there for a long time now, so it'd be better to find something to do. Passing through the book alleys, he found books that seemed generic: history, spell casting, creatures. Nothing useful, maybe the spell casting might get his attention, but he was no wizard, he couldn't really do anything with them. Spells could be an advantage for combat, sure, but he had no chance to summon them. Maybe Kiara, but Kiara was more of a 'defensive spell' user. She would never use offensive spells.

Still wandering on the corridors (not noticing Kiara's small struggle with the book on the high shelf), he found some that might be something interesting: alquimy. He grabbed it and checked on it. Maybe he could grab a thing or two from it. If they would be here for a long time, at least he could grab some knowledge to help him for the future.
He grabbed alquimy books and took them to the table where Kiara was studying, he grabbed a little notepad and a pencil "hey." he greeted the elf, not wanting to make noise and attract attention. he opened the book and started to glance at them. He had learned something similar in high school, but that was a long time ago, most of that knowledge was rusty, so a little refresher wouldn't be bad. He made his way through the book, writing notes down and deducing formulas. The book contained instructions on how to create objects that Jaken just might use later on, for example, how to create healing potions -basic ones-, how to create tools that might distract enemies, like smoke bombs, noise bombs and so on; how to improve his bolts attaching special features on them -like toxic gas, fire, hell, even explosive, meaning that he wouldn't have to steal from Merkl no more- and so on. This might come in handy. Alquimy were not the only books that Jaken grabbed, he also took a book on weaapon handling, sure, he loved his daggers and crossbow, but he could also learn about other weapons and how they work. There were weapons, such as swords, sledgehammers, battle axes, and spears. He had an idea on how to use them, but this book gave him more intel and advice on how to handle them and some techniques that might get him out of a tough situation. He was so interested in his study, that he decided to get up and look for other books. He was starting to get why was this so interesting for Kiara. It was exciting to learn about this new stuff that might come in handy the next time he needed them. He might just bring Kiara here more often, but not just for her. Unbeknownst to him, Kiara was reading about creatures, giving her the perfect time window to read about whatever she wanted.

Once the wolf returned, he shrugged on Kiara's question "Seems that I've got everything already, or who knows..." he looked at the shelves "Maybe there is something that I am missing..." he shrugged, then looked back at her "What about you? Watcha got there?"
Jaken, did you ever heard of a creature named Fufuro?
"Hhmmm.... no. Never heard of it." he leaned in Kiara's book, looking at the humanoi owl. It was an interessting creature, apparently, it had great knoowledge and even a location to where it was, but finding him was not in his interest right now "Nope. Never heard of them. It looks interesting, not gonna lie." he stared into the creature's drawn eyes "Which is weird, I've traveled a lot and have never heard about it... maybe it's a dead legend?" he looked at Kiara's eyes.

Once Kiara closed the book, she seemed to have a face that she waas satissfied with the day. The wolf hugged her by the shoulder "Hope you liked it. It's still a shame that the library is not complete, but I hope this was good enough for you." he shook her hair gently, the wolf stared outside. It was sunset, how long have they been here "I'm sorry Kiara, but we have to go, Hellius said that you should be back early." he chuckled "Even though you are an adult, you are still his baby daughter." he smiled at her "OR." he looked at her "We could.... y'know... have a walk on the woods... but you being with... a certain anthropormohic wolf." he winked. Screw Hellius, this was their time now.
 
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Kiara

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"First thing: they are not. Cats are not 'cute and adorable'. They hiss at you when you try to be friendly, they scratch you when you try to hug them and they are interested jerks... also, I am a werewolf. So I have a bit of canine in me. Does that get me off the hook?"
Kiara couldn’t help but to giggle at Jaken’s comment. “No, that does not get you off the hook. Each cat is different and have their own personalities. You just need to understand them, but clearly, you are not very fond of cats.” She smiled for him, as if trying to change his mind about those lovable creatures.
"I don't think animals can detect my inner werewolf in my human form. I never really stare at animals, I just hunt them down to eat. I'm sure there are supernatural creatures that can detect that I'm a werewolf, not that I've met one, but it is a big place out there, surely some creatures can detect me. As for animals, I'm not sure."
The elf nodded her head, hearing his explanation, but that only make the elf wonder even more. More and more questions popped into her mind, but, she didn’t want to bother him any further. Indeed, she knew little to nothing about Jaken's werewolf nature.

"Nope. Never heard of them. It looks interesting, not gonna lie." he stared into the creature's drawn eyes "Which is weird, I've traveled a lot and have never heard about it... maybe it's a dead legend?"
The elf lowered her head focusing her attention on the creature drawing. “Maybe you are right. Now that I think about it… I never heard about these places… Howling Forest and the Forgotten Valley.” She paused for a moment, her mind wandering before she speaks again. “But, every legend has a bit of truth. Would it be weird if I wished to find this Fukurou creature?” She suppressed a giggle. Why legendary and ancient creatures would always peek her interest?

Kiara flinched at the sudden hug, but it didn’t take long for her body to relax and surrender to the bounty hunter’s touch. She hugged him back, lowering her head, though she loved being in his arms, she felt sad.
"It was great, don't worry about it. Besides, it was a great opportunity to learn some new spells." she simply said. For how long she would be allowed to stay by his side? If she hadn’t crossed the line and fell for him, would that make things easier? If only she was not so greedy to crave for more, more than he had to offer.
The elf followed his gaze, noticing that the sun was setting. She didn’t say anything, a sad, small smile appearing on her lips. Jaken was right, it was time to go back. Furthermore, this little dream had its days counted. Why does love have to be so complicated? And why it hurt so much? Still, she simply couldn’t let it go! That didn’t make sense! How did this happen? From a reasonable elf that would use and listen to her mind, ended up being controlled by her heart and emotions. Was she plotting against herself!?
And again, Jaken had so much power over her. The proof, his next words.
"We could.... y'know... have a walk on the woods... but you being with... a certain anthropormohic wolf."
Kiara’s eyes lighted up, as she locked her gaze with his. The simple thought of being with him just a little longer made a bright smile grace her features.
“I'm not Little Red Riding Hood, so walking in the woods, alone, with a certain wolf, does not scare me.” She giggled, taking a few steps ahead before making a graceful turn, teasing him a little.

Elf and werewolf walked side by side. Now that the scorching sun was almost setting, people had returned to the streets. The city was lively as ever with people talking and passing by. But, as Kiara focused her attention on her surroundings, the elf started to notice little things. At first, she ignored but it was starting to bother her. It didn’t matter where they were going, she could feel people staring at them, some would make little comments that she couldn’t pick up, but, every single time that Kiara would make eye contact they would fall silent. The elf didn’t understand why people were reacting like that. What was going on?
As the spellsinger lifted her head to look at Jaken, she felt something caught her arm, forcing her to stop on her tracks. She looked back, trying to understand what was happening, only to find a man, probably in his 30’s, grabbing her arm.
“Hmm.. I'm sorry, but… is everything alright? Do you need anything?” She asked in a calm, polite tone. Being a kind heart elf, like she always had been. But to her surprise, the man pulled her close to him, taking her off guard.
“Stay away from him! Don’t get fooled by his appearance, that guy may look like a man, but he is nothing more than a beast!” The man whispered in a warning tone, while glaring at Jaken.
Feeling the elf trying to release her arm, he tight the grip, pulling her even closer. Now Kiara was starting to get nervous. She turned to look at Jaken, noticing that a crowd had gathered around to watch the scene. People were awfully quiet, fearing for the werewolf’s reaction, but there were all curious to see what would happen next.
“Listen to me! You are in danger! The thing over there, is a werewolf!” he said in a frustrated but also angry tone, still glaring at Jaken with despise. At his words, some others voices filled with hate screamed between the crowd, remaining anonymous.
“Someone, just kill him!”
“Yah! He attacked a group of kids!”
“Now, his next target is the elf girl!”
“Such dangerous monster!”
As those words entered her ears, the spellsinger couldn’t take her eyes off Jaken. She couldn’t believe that was actually happening. Jaken didn’t deserve to be treated like that! How could they say those horrible things!? Kiara had had enough, though she was a kind elf, she would kindly cease to be. And even if she tried to avoid a confront, that didn’t mean she would stay idle nor accept injustices.
“How can any of you say that!? He is not a monster! In fact, he is more of a man than any of you! Hiding in a crowd while attacking him! Cowards!”
The elf turned to all those anonymous voices, speaking loud and clear. There was no need for violence, Kiara knew that words could be as sharp as a blade, and a wounded ego, would take longer to heal than any other injury that a weapon could deliver. Everyone fell silent. She said nothing more, there was no need, she had made her point, but she was on the verge of tears. Then she turned to look at the man, calming down a little.
“I appreciate your concern, but, you are mistaken. So please, release my arm.” She said in a calming tone, but with determination in her eyes. Being caught off guard, he loosened the grip just enough for Kiara to break free from his grasp. The elf walked towards the werewolf, ignoring the people around her. “Let’s go Jaken.” She said softly, holding his hand, giving him a lovely smile, while gently drag him away from that place.

As the elf walked away, still holding Jaken’s hand, some silent tears would fall from the corner of her eyes, but she kept her head up, not a single word left her lips, she simply wanted to leave that place.
Soon enough, spellsinger and bounty hunter were deep into the woods. Finally realizing that she had left the city behind, Kiara released his hand, slowly turning back to face him. Her face displaying a lot of emotions. She felt hurt and frustrated, not for her, but for him. It was so unfair. Jaken didn’t have to deal or heard those kind of stuffs! Why no one couldn’t see the same as her? Why they couldn’t see beyond the wolf appearance?
 
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Adriwolf

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The werewolf shrugged at the elf's comment "Yeah, they are not my favorite animal. Too bad they are too small, or else, I'd eat them." he looked at Kiara like he meant it, only for him to stick out his tongue and laugh it off "I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding, I wouldn't do that.... for now, at least." he chuckled more and signaled Kiara to keep going towards the library. Cats were not really his favorite animal, but the 'eating cats' thing was obviously a joke, only to make Kiara react. Apparently, the elf waas fond with cats, seeing how she played with Oscar back at Meredith's. So he couldn't help but to wonder how would she react, besides, a cat wouldn't satisfy his hunger anyway...

“Maybe you are right. Now that I think about it… I never heard about these places… Howling Forest and the Forgotten Valley.” She paused for a moment, her mind wandering before she speaks again. “But, every legend has a bit of truth. Would it be weird if I wished to find this Fukurou creature?”
"I don't think it would be weird from your part. I mean, this DOES seem interesting, maybe not something I would look into, but something to think and space out while not doing anything." he then looked at the elf's eyes and smiled "So you want to be a legend hunter now? Find this creature and prove of the legend is true? Well, we'd have to discover where these places are. Might be another adventure....." that made him go blank. 'Adventure'. What type of adventure would it be? Would it be a safe adventure or a dangerous one, like the events from 4 months ago? Sure, the S.A.P. events were not what Jaken would call an 'adventure', he'd call more of a... 'slow burn'. And after what that small burn did to Kiara, Jaken wasn't really eeager to look into it. He didn't want to risk it, not for his safety, but for hers. Risking her to another slow burn... what if she ends up like.... like....
Jaken's breathing started to get altered, but in order to keep himself under control, he inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, calming himself down, fearing that he might get another panic attack aand lose control in front of her. He tried to calm himself in the most subtle way possible, by walking around, pretending to think on Kiara's ideas, when in reality, he was focusing on keeping himself under control. Which he did. He managed to calm down and turn to Kaira "But, maybe we should stick around for a while, we don't need to throw ourselves into this right now, do we? We can stay here and relax for a few days, ok? We don't need to move, let's just... make sure that everything is ok." he smiled at her, rubbing her shoulder with his thumb.
He didn't really wanted to go on another adventure with her and expose her to danger, that would be THE LAST THING that he wanted to do with her right now. Instead, he wanted to take her on wood walks in his wolf form, feel the air on his face and her weight on his arms. He just wanted that, nothing more. No ore adventures, no more struggles, no more witches, nor assasins. he just wanted to relax... but... what would... what would happen to his bounty hunter career? He wanted to stay with her. Being apart from her made him scared and anxious, and the bounties he usually would take on are far too dangerous for her. So... what would he do? A dilema started: be a bounty hunter or stay with her.

Seeing the elf give him a sad, smmall smile at the order of going, the werewolf couldn't help but to feel a bit guilty. It seems that she really enjoyed it here, but it wasn't really his call; the library had a schedule to follow, mainly because during closing hours, reconstruction process would begin, all the way to its opening hour "Oh come on. Cheer up, we can come in tomorrow. The library is opened every day, so... we can come here until you devour the entire library, hell, even the kids book if you want." he gave her a teasing smile and patted her to get up and head outside "Come on. The woods are waiting for us."

As the wolf and the elf made their way to the woods, he noticed that the streets were getting a bit empty, not 'desolate-empty', but he could notice the difference between noon and evening. Not only thorugh numbers, but also on words. He could hear people talking about the pair as they made their way through the street. He could hear some bits of conversations.
"-beast."
"-poor elf-"
"-those kids?"
"-is he up to-"
"-expelled from it-"
"-he doing here?"
Of course Jaken could hear them, as soon as he caught those words, he would galnce at where they came, spotting several people: two women talking, a son and his mother, two men and a woman talking, a guard mumbling to himself, five teenagers talking amongst themselves. But as soon as Jaken looked at them, shinning his werewolf eyes briefly at them -all of this without Kiara noticing-, they'd turn back in fear and keep their words to themselves. He had an idea about what they were talking about: those 'kids' that Jaken 'attacked' months ago, if they only knew the whole story. Teens of about 16 or 17 pulling jaken's tail, that is not really something Jaken was ok with. But they also mentioned 'poor elf'. Were they talking about Kiara? Those teens were human, there were no elves among them. And Jaken didn't interact with any elf apart from Kiara and Hellius, which he didn't had any trouble with. So which elf were they talking about? He looked at Kiara to assure her that everything was ok, that she didn't need to worry about a thing. As soon as he did it, he noticed Kiara being stopped by something.

He looked back, looking at a man holding Kiara's arm, not aggressively, but almost as if he wanted to stop her from continuing walking. This made Jaken almost lose it, how dare he grab Kiara's arm like that without her permission, hell, EVEN WITH HER PERMISSION, HE WOULDN'T ALLOW HIM TO DO THAT. However, he calmed down, there were eyes on him, and right now, being hostile was not the best for him at the time, considering what they were talking about. "Yes?" he asked "How may we help you?" he stared deep into the man's eyes, trying to look intimidating, anything to get him off Kiara's arm.

“Stay away from him! Don’t get fooled by his appearance, that guy may look like a man, but he is nothing more than a beast!”
"Excuse me?" Jaken stepped closer, he heard what the man said to Kiara, and he didn't really appreciated it. Not for what he called him, but for Kiara's interaction with him. Again, how dare he talked to her after his approach on her? "Sir, leave us alone." his voice became demanding "Now."
But when the man pulled her closer, that was it for Jaken, maybe not enough to send him full werewolf on this creep, but enough to step in and grab the man's arms that was holding Kiara's arms "Do you really want to step it up?" he looked into the man's arms "Believe me. I am being patient with you." he yelled, making the others hearing him "YOU THINK I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT??!! WORK ON YOUR WHISPERS!!!" he looked back at the man "So, listen to me, either you let her go NOW or I might be so generous." his grip got stronger on the man's arm "Make your choice pal."
“Listen to me! You are in danger! The thing over there, is a werewolf!”
"Oh really now? Guess what you creep: she knows. She knows that I am a werewolf. Now, since we made that clear." his voice combining with wolf growls "Let. Her. Go." his grip becoming stronger and tighter, making the man groan in pain, his arm would definitely get a bruise form Jaken's grip.
“Someone, just kill him!”
“Yah! He attacked a group of kids!”
“Now, his next target is the elf girl!”
“Such dangerous monster!”
As the crowd started to gather on them, Jaken could barely hold it together. He just wanted everyone to shut up and leave them alone, he just wanted to rip everyone to pieces and eat them. In fact, why not? No one was around, there was only one guard, who Jaken could take on easily. All of these voices would go away and leave him and the elf he loved alone. His eyes started to change into his blue ones, his teeth became fangs. A small growl came out of his mouth, making the man look at him in the eyes, trembling in fear. His nails stayed the same, he wouldn't want the man to be scrathced and run away in fear, although he would die today, but he didn't really had time for a chase. He wanted to have a delicious snack. But then he heard Kiara's cry.
“How can any of you say that!? He is not a monster! In fact, he is more of a man than any of you! Hiding in a crowd while attacking him! Cowards!”
He snapped back, locking away his fangs and changing his eyes to brown. That made him step back in control... what was he thinking? Devouring humans in front of Kiara... how could he? Kiara would see him as the monster the street had painted him of. He would only eat animals, and he was so close to eat humans? What was wrong with him?! Had he lost it? Was he on his way to losing it? Fortunately, that made Jaken think on what he was doing. And the crowd fell silent at Kiara's commments, the voices stopped, the voice had left him alone. Such a relief. And then, the man let go of Kiara. Jaken slightly pushed him away. That is when he felt Kiara's soft hand on his, he looked back at her and smiled, but then turn back to the man for one last time. He pointed his finger at him "You stay the fuck away from us." And with that, Kiara dragged him away, leaving a concerned and scared crowd.
"That man is insane."
"Did he hurt your arm?"

Once in the woods, Jaken had calmed down from the situation, at least, for the bigger part of it. He was still angry at the man that grabbed Kiara's hand like that. That was no way of treating her, hell, not a single womman in this god damn place. The twigs cracking under their shoes and the grasshoppers chirping the whole night away made Jaken feel safe. It was as if the forest was his only place to relax and catch a breath... maybe the city was not his place anymore.
But he looked at Kiara's face, through her eyes he could see that the elf was thinking on things, and her emotions were not the best to be feeling right now, especially on her first day after... that... after the good day they had, they just HAD to crowd around them. That made him Jaken angry, crossing his arms, but then he breathed and looked at Kiara, leaning on a log, his arms still crossed "I guess that this was not the best way to end the night... you deserve an explanation, because I know what happened back there." he sighed and sat with her on a log "Kiara... after... after your shard incident.... I decided to distract myself, going to the Elbion reconstruction program, due to my werewolf strength, they accepted me right away, with the whole... carrying heavy things. People would look at me weird whenever I used my werewolf form, as far as they know, werewolves are still a dangerous, mindless beast. I didn't give a damn about what they had to say about me, I just wanted to do my work, get paid, and go home. But then...." he sighed "As you probably heard during the discussion, someone said that I attacked kids.... that has... a bit of true.... I was in my werewolf form, carrying heavy objects, and these... stupid teenagers decided to play hero with me. They couldn't be adults, the looked around 16 or 17. One of them decided to pull my tail... which is connected to my spine. If you pull my tail, it feels like you are pulling my whole spine, it doesn't feel good. By instinct, I dropped what I was carrying him and kick my 'attacker' away. The 'attacker' being that dumb teenager. I sent him too far, they got scared and ran away, that teen I kicked away didn't suffered any injuries, maybe a bruise. I yelled at them to never do that again or else I would not be so kind to them... and then... a guard attacked me on the leg with a fucking silver spear... I was expelled from the program due to the incident. I tried to defend myself, but... teenagers versus a werewolf, who do you think people will feel pity for?" he looked at Kiara with teary eyes "And since then... people won't let go of that. Which I don't give a fuck, they can speak whatever the fuck they want from me. But when that man grabbed you... I almost lost it." he sniffled "As I said, I don't give a damn about them, I care for you and how this day will end for you. We were having such a great time." his voice started to crack "And these ASSHOLES decided to bring that up!"

He looked away from the elf, but still speaking to her "I am SO sorry.... I shouldn't... I shouldn't have done that... it was insitnct, I did it by instinct, I didn't want to harm the kid, but they also had fault on it, why would they pull my tail just like that?!" he growled at the air. He sniffled and sighed, hanging his head and resting his elbows on his knees.