‘Why would they want that?’ said Emiliana.
‘I don’t know. It’s particularly strange when you consider how Melchor tried to get us to go with him peacefully at first. Really not sure what to make of these people.’
‘Hmm. Maybe they really are trying to protect us in some way.’
‘I highly doubt that.’
She laid back on her bed and sighed. ‘So what should I do now?’
‘You’re a prisoner. Not much to do other than wait. Try meditating, if you can manage it.’
‘And entertain me. I’m super bored.’
‘I don’t understand how you can be so calm about everything...’
‘I could pretend to be freaking out, if you want.’
‘I could tell you a nice story to help you relax.’
At that suggestion, Emiliana begrudged a half-smile. ‘What kind of story?’
‘What kind do you want? I know lots of stories.’
‘Surprise me, then.’
‘Alright. So I knew this girl once who was a total kleptomaniac. Stole stuff all the time. It was crazy. Anyway, she really liked it when I told her jokes, but I’d often have trouble explaining puns to her, because she always took things literally.’
A beat passed. ‘Oh my god...’
‘Good story, right?’
‘I think I’ll start meditating now.’
It was a fairly difficult transition to make, but Emiliana managed it after a while. She focused on clearing her head, mostly. Chergoa had previously explained that meditation was typically used in order to imagine the progression of one’s power, what one desired to achieve with it in the short term, but since Emiliana still wasn’t at all certain what that was, she was content with keeping it very general in her mind. At this point, all she knew was what she didn’t want to become.
That monster kept creeping back into her mind. Trying not to think about it only made the task impossible, and at length, she decided that she should just stop meditating.
When she opened her eyes, however, the black-scaled monster was standing before her.
She froze up. Without her mask, she couldn’t help feeling even more vulnerable this time.
It looked around the room, still deathly silent, and Emiliana decided to move away from the bed.
The monster’s red eyes followed her.
Slowly, she positioned herself closer to the vanity mirror, wanting to see if the monster had a reflection.
She wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or not. It was fairly compelling evidence that the beast wasn’t genuinely there, which made it less dangerous, but that still didn’t tell her what the damn thing was or why she was seeing it.