Jonathan trusted Chester could handle himself, but he might as well go check on his friend before he went to sleep. He was not surprised to find Chester at a table with several coin pouches attached to his belt. “Are you planning to head back soon?”
Chester glanced at the newest table of Clover players he had been draining money from and smiled. “Yeah, I’m done here!” He quickly chugged the rest of whatever was in his cup and stumbled slightly as he headed to the door.
When they were outside, Jonathan moved closer and let Chester use him as a support. “Are you drunk?” He sighed.
“Nah, I’m just a bit tipsy, and exhausted.”
“Good.” Jonathan helped Chester to the inn and then up the stairs into their room. He let go and watched Chester collapse onto his respective bed.
Chester groaned. He pulled off his boots and shirt, as it had been stained with someone’s beverage, then quietly declared, “Alright, alright. I’m going to sleep.”
Jonathan muttered his agreement. The transmigrator turned off the lamp on the table and went to bed.
A few hours later, in the dark, the window creaked as it was opened from the outside. Then, a loud shriek split through the night, followed by a woman’s scream.
Jonathan and Chester woke up. They opened their eyes to see someone standing near the open window. The room smelled of fire and burnt cloth.
Chester swore and fumbled to light the lantern on the table. He succeeded and held it up to show the person who had snuck into their room.
Oceton squawked as he was picked up by Jonathan. The bird was hot to the touch, but didn’t seem to be in any discomfort. His feathers had turned a few shades darker. The bird seemed to be the culprit of the sudden fire.
“Ciley?” Chester identified in disbelief. His worry had been that the Moeity decided to assassinate Jonathan, not that an acquaintance would come after them.
The young woman in the burnt cloak was indeed Ciley, from the saloon. She had her fingers intertwined together, her expression shy. “I couldn’t wait any longer, especially if you’re planning to leave tomorrow.”
“For what?” Jonathan asked. He had a bad, bad feeling about this. He put Oceton in his saddlebags and pulled on his coat, watching the woman the entire time.
“For you, of course!” Ciley was smiling at the transmigrator. It wasn’t an unkind smile, but it was far too wide and filled with desperation. Some of her braid had been burned off.
Jonathan inhaled a lungful of smoky air and asked, “What if I say no?”
“What do you mean? You wouldn’t. You have to be with me.”
“What will you do if I’m not?”
“Destroy everything in my way.” Spikes of ice started to form around Ciley. She was using elemental magic, without a crystal in her hands due to her elemental contract. She boldly declared, “I’m not scared. It’s true love.”
“Ah, it’s a yandere,” Jonathan realized out loud. There were some acceptable levels of crazy, but this woman was far past them. He didn’t have a way out of this except for fighting and running.
Chester picked up his pack and threw Jonathan’s satchel over to his friend.
“A yandere?” Ciley questioned. She tilted her head, confused.
“Someone who really, really ‘loves’ someone.” Jonathan caught his satchel and withdrew his knife, holding it behind his back.
Chester flung the lantern at Ciley and jumped over the beds, heading for the door.
Ciley threw up a shield of ice and blocked the lantern. She was frowning, hand raised. The woman was going to attack Chester.
Jonathan darted behind Ciley. His friend had worked as a perfect distraction. The transmigrator didn’t want to kill her. He had seen enough death today. It was also likely she wouldn’t stop going after him if she didn’t suffer a loss today. “Ciley, I’m not in love with you, nor will I ever be. Give up.” He raised the blade and dragged it across her eyes.
Ciley screamed. The ice shield fell, dissipating into nothingness.
It was time for Jonathan to run, and he did. He did not regret his harsh rejection, nor his action after.
Jonathan didn’t care if someone claimed it was done for love, despite it really being because of their selfishness. Ciley had doomed herself by breaking into the room, but her fate had truly been sealed by her answers.
The transmigrator had an iron grip on Oceton and the bloody knife in his hand. He rushed down the stairs and through the back door to the small stables.
Chester was already there, saddling up Biscuit and Magnus. “How far behind is that crazy mage?”
Jonathan’s expression flickered through several emotions and landed on irate. “I blinded her.”
There was the sound of glass shattering from above and the scream of a bystander.
Chester cursed as he tied on his last saddlebag. He wasn’t smiling. “Maskiff is notoriously incompetent and corrupt when it comes to trials, and she’s a contracted mage while we’re two random travelers.”
“I figure we’re definitely not staying.” Jonathan wiped the blood off on his coat: it was red so the stain blended in without an issue.
Chester nodded. “We need to move quickly, but at least we didn’t lose our supplies.”
They rode into the night, not staying on any set path, but following Jonathan’s compass West.
Today’s second chapter. Hope you enjoyed. Now you have to wait two weeks for the next chapter. :p Could be worse, it could be a full on cliffhanger after all.