I woke up the next morning to the feeling of Zirani"s naked form pressed up against my side. We"d made love well into the night and honestly, that"s what it was, making love. It had been far more passionate than any of the other times I had sex. The bond between us was growing stronger and it allowed us to play off one another, to know how the other felt, to increase the others" pleasure.
She stirred beside me and her eyes opened slowly, taking a second to focus before those red orbs shone with joy and happiness. She smiled and snuggled closer into me with a soft sigh.
I planted a soft kiss on the top of her head. "We need to get up, Zirani, we"re leaving today, remember."
She groaned. "Just a few more minutes then maybe we can have a quickie? That"s what you humans call it isn"t it."
I laughed. "Yes, and as much as I would love to, we can"t afford to be late, and I want to say goodbye to my aunt."
"Fine," She said. "But I"m too tired to move, I"ll just head back on in."
She dispersed into green mist, although this time tinged with a soft whitish blue, and moved back into her core, leaving me alone in bed. As much as I hated the fact I"d said no, me and Zirani had the rest of our lives together and I was sure there would be plenty more chances to have some fun, but I wouldn"t get to see my aunt for a while.
I took a quick shower and dressed in the combat robes of the steel heart before heading down. I contemplated wearing the more casual clothes, but they provided no armor and were definitely meant as inside wear, plus the combat robes did feel much nicer and snugger.
"Finally awake? I was worried I was gonna have to come up and wake you?"
My aunt smiled coyly at me as I took a seat at the kitchen table. There was a decent variety of breakfast foods, including fruit, toast, eggs, bacon, and some porridge with honey and sugar. I dug as my aunt smiled at me over the rim of her coffee cup.
"What?" I asked, a spoonful of porridge halfway to my mouth.
She smirked. "Nothing, was just quite hard to sleep last night what with all the noise."
I blushed slightly and averted my gaze. "Well, sorry."
"No it"s fine, I"m just glad I won"t have to hear it anymore," she replied.
We ate the rest of breakfast in silence and when I stood, my aunt shot me a sad smile and moved over to wrap me in a hug. "I"m so proud of you, Aiden, and I"m sure if your mother and father could see you now, they would be too."
I returned the hug and felt a wave of sadness wash over me. This wasn"t the last time I would see my aunt and yet it felt odd to be leaving after having spent my entire life here.
"I"ve packed some things for you."
She reached over and picked up a small silver ring which I hadn"t noticed earlier. She handed it over to me.
"Put it on."
I frowned in confusion, but then placed it on my right middle finger, and gasped when I saw aether runes light up in the ring, and a connection formed in my mind. A connection to a pocket space full of items, gold, kor crystals, books, extra clothes, plenty of rations and water, and other things, including…
"A glaive," I said in shock. "You bought me a glaive."
My aunt had actually gone somewhere, the auction house judging from what I could tell, and had bought me a weapon.
"I don"t like violence, but you"re going to need that out there because I"m not so naive to think the world shares my views," She explained.
"Since when did you have a storage ring?" I asked. They were expensive as hell and there weren"t any for sale in town, not counting the auction house.
"I did spend some time outside this town, you know," She said. "I picked it up in a city, but since I don"t really need it, I"m giving it to you."
I swallowed heavily and looked up at her. I moved in for another hug and she returned it more fiercely than the last. "Thank you aunty for everything."
She patted me on the back. "No need for thanks, now you stay safe ok, the next time I see you, you"d better make sure you"re in one piece. Take care of him for me, Zirani."
The Zigan appeared behind me and bowed to my aunt. "I will do my best to keep him safe. Thank you for your hospitality and acceptance of me."
I spent a little while longer hugging my aunt and after one last goodbye in which I actually almost cried, Zirani moved back into her core, and I left the house in which I"d spent eighteen years of my life. Although it was simple, it felt a lot harder and significant. Every time I"d left the house I"d always known I"d be back before the day ended, but now it might be months.
"You ok, Aiden?"
Zirani"s voice was soft in my mind, hesitant. I focused and tried to send a wave of reassurance to her. I felt her worry fade slightly and together we walked through the town. I took in the sights that I"d grown up with. The market in which I"d once spent an entire hour trying to decide what to eat while Leyton had lost his mind. The park in which I"d first met Thomas who at the time had been whacking a rock with a stick, imitating his father using a hammer on a piece of metal. The restaurant in which I"d had my first date, and the center of the city in which I"d had my first confrontation with Jason. I passed by it all knowing that even if I returned this wouldn"t be home ever again. I don"t know how I knew, I just did.
"Onwards to greater heights," I muttered.
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