‘Sorry, but that really needs to go away on its own. I told you to expect pain, didn’t I?’
He stood slowly and regretted every moment of it. “Agh, oww...”
‘It’s bad if I keep putting off the recovery pains and exhaustion. They’ll just come back stronger later.’
“You can’t just... ugh... keep putting it off forever?”
‘Yeah, and then one day, I forget. Or we end up separated for a long time, and guess what happens? You experience pain that is so strong, it drives you actually insane.’
He sighed. “Okay, fine...”
‘You’re very cranky in the morning.’
Hector blinked and flushed red. “Ah--I’m sorry. I didn’t, ah, I didn’t m-mean to be rude...”
Garovel seemed amused. ‘It’s fine. Don’t look so worried.’
He readied himself for school and left, not needing to say goodbye to his parents who were already gone, and he arrived at the bus stop just as it was pulling up to the curb. Garovel floated steadily along with him, even keeping pace with the bus right outside Hector’s window. No one sat next to him.
Calman High School was notoriously cramped. It sat on a crowded high street, its seven stories paling in comparison to every building around it, and since the property was nowhere near large enough to house any fields or facilities whatsoever, every last one of the school’s physical education courses and sports teams had to be exported to rented buildings. An eighth floor was being added in order to cope with the number of students, but that meager relief was still months from fruition.
Hector arrived at his morning mathematics class and took his seat in the back corner of the room, thankful at least for the walls on two sides of him instead of another pair of warm bodies breathing down his neck.