Beautiful silence and peace.
At last.
My muscles tensed and my bones ached from the activities of the day. I moaned as I rubbed my sore shoulder where the blade of the guard's weapon had struck. I winced as a new surge of pain crippled me. My legs gave way and I began my descent. My body crumpled onto the bed behind me and the mattress flexed from my weight.
I'll just have to try harder tomorrow. I can't let my guard down again. Too much at risk. I laid my palm onto my shoulder and massaged it lovingly. Though it doesn't even hurt too much. It won't kill me or anything. I just have to be more careful, that's all.
The bed groaned as I shifted positions on the bed. I sighed wistfully. Ynou picked up her head and peered at me keenly. I tried to force myself to give her a reassuring smile, but it didn't convince her in the least. She fluttered her wings and hovered over my head. I frowned and blew a small gust of wind at her. She glowered at me and landed on my nose. She took a seat and gazed down at me with her endless sky blue eyes filled with sympathy.
"Ynou, please," I mumbled.
Her body moved as she tried to convey her feelings to me. Her bright, red hair swayed to and fro as her eyes pleaded with me to express myself to her, but I could tell by looking deeply into her eyes that she already knew what was distressing me. "Why do you ask? Ynou, you know me better than anyone!"
She frowned and plopped back down on my nose, crossing her arms in desperation. Her tail dropped and her ears dropped in sadness. I lifted my hand and flicked the small prezz from my nose. She sailed through the air, her small wings trying to fight the force retracting her away from me.
"Just leave me alone, Ynou. I really don't want to talk about this."
She whacked into a pillow roughly. There was a small dent in the soft fabric where the little creature had landed. A miniature hand reached out from the pillow and grasped the edge. She pulled herself out and gave me an evil stare.
"You asked for it." I shrugged.
Her expression changed to a more softened one. Her eyebrows creased, giving her a look of concern. She motioned toward me again.
"I'm all right, Ynou."
Ynou shook her head and her body started to glow red. Within seconds, her body grew until it was my size. I turned away from her, rolling onto my side. She lightly tapped my shoulder. I reluctantly glanced at her over my shoulder.
"Wha-...?" I questioned in annoyance, but I stopped mid-sentence. She was crying. "Aw, Ynou... I'm sorry."
She furiously shook her head back and forth. With tearful eyes, she gazed at me with a stare that pierced my soul. She moved her lips in effort to speak words of comfort to me, but no words came out. Just strangled noises emerged. More tears dropped from her eyes as she squeezed them shut in frustration.
"I'm so sorry, Ynou," I replied, hugging her close to myself. She returned my embrace and let out a few raspy, choked sobs.
This is all Isuku's fault.
Damn her.
And yet... somewhere deep inside me longs to find her again.
"Eiydenn," a soft voice called to me.
"...Ynou?" I asked.
"No. It's Isuku," she corrected. I glanced around in the direction of her voice and the blackness of my sight cleared. In the doorway stood a tall, slender figure. She flipped her blonde hair over her shoulder and flashed me one of her beautiful smiles. "I got rid of her. She's gone for the night. It's just you and me. And that pendant of yours," she mumbled the last sentence so quietly that I hardly noticed it. Or I pretended not to.
I involuntarily fingered the silver crescent moon pendant hanging off of my chain of silver beads. The outline of the moon was gold. Written across the gold band was an ancient writing that I couldn't decipher. But that didn't matter. All that mattered now was that Isuku was here with me.
"So what are you doing here?" I asked.
"Do I have to have a reason to spend time with you, Eiydenn? Or is it that you don't want me here?" She curled her lips into a pout. "Did Ynou say something to you about me?"
Ynou has said a lot of things about you. Nothing I can actually repeat though... "No, not really. Just the usual." I shrugged.
"That Ynou. You know, jealousy does not look good on a girl." She giggled.
I shook my head. "I'm sure that's not it. She's just looking out for me. I'm not really worried about her. She's just being... Ynou. Are you?"
"Of course not! Why should I be worried about a little fly like her?"
My brow furrowed in opposition, but Isuku coaxed me down into the seat beside her. "Relax, Eiydenn. She's gone. You're here to be with me, remember? No one else can get in our way..."
"Ynou's not trying to get in our way!" I protested.
"Shh... shh... baby, it's me. Relax." She ruffled my hair and cooed softly. I sighed in sweet bliss and allowed her to gently lay my head on her lap. I smiled at her lovely face and she grinned back at me. She combed my brown hair with her fingers as some of her long blonde hair fell over her shoulder and dangled over my face. "Shh... shh... relax... you're here with me and me alone... no one will ever come between us... never... never..." She whispered to me as if she was chanting a spell. Then her voice fell low and she muttered in a different language.
"Isuku..." I called to her.
"Shh..." She ignored me. Her soothing voice calmed me as she continued to brush my hair. My eyelids grew heavy as I felt myself giving in to her. I struggled to stay awake, but sleep was beginning to overcome me...
"You are mine now. No one will take you from me. You are all mine." Her hand caressed my cheek. Nothing could take away the calmness I felt about being with her... just feeling her hand upon my cheek... and her sweet voice... not even when she reached her hand to my pendant did I flinch...
"Isuku... I am yours... forever..." The words spilled out of my mouth, but they were not my own. Wh-what's happening to me? "Isuku..."
"Do not fear. I will not harm you... or your pendant... I love you..."
Suddenly, the pendant was yanked away from me. The delicate chain of beads shattered in her hands. The beads bounced on the floor and she closed her hand around the pendant possessively. I gasped and tried to sit up, but I was paralyzed. Isuku grinned with the pendant in her hand. "Don't get up, my love. Trust me... trust me... relax... I love you, Eiydenn."
"No... Isuku... please... the pendant... stay with me... I love you..." I begged.
"I am with you always..."
My eyesight became blurred. Everything around me grew dim. Isuku slowly got to her feet, grinning all the while. My eyes started to close from my exhaustion. Then I blacked out.
Isuku... what are you doing? Why are you doing this to me? Is this pendant more important to you than me? I trust you so much... love you so much, but... what are you doing?
Please don't leave me, Isuku...
"Eiydenn! Eiydenn! Eiydenn!" a voice shrieked hoarsely.
"Isuku..." I mumbled. My eyes fluttered open. A ghostly form of Isuku hovered before me. Her flowing hair was blown about by the wind. My pendant dangled from the chain in her hand.
"I love you, Eiydenn," she sneered, catching the pendant in her hand. She grinned and took off.
"Isuku! Isuku!" I screamed.
"Eiydenn! Eiydenn!" the voice from before yelled, each time weakening more and more. "Eiydenn!" It's Ynou.
"Over here, Ynou!" I shrieked.
She clambered to my side. "Come! We must hu-!"
"Where is Isuku?" I demanded. "Where is she?"
"The wench ran away! Now hurry!" She coughed.
"What is it?"
"Eiydenn, your home is on fire!"
"What?" I gasped. How is it that I can't see it? How is it that I can't feel the flames? "Ynou... I can't move," I realized as I tried to stand.
"Curse that Isuku," she mumbled under her breath. She extended her hand to me. "Take my hand. I will carry you out."
I nodded and raised my hand. She took it and lifted me from the couch and onto her back. I tightened my grip on her and buried my head into her mane of red hair. I struggled to keep myself from breathing in the toxic fumes, but I couldn't help but breathe it in. A drop of sweat rolled down my cheek. ...Was it even sweat? I reached my hand up and gingerly touched my cheek. I sniffed it and drew back in recognition. Blood.
But why can't I see it?
I placed my hand in front of my face and waved it. I... I... I can't see it. Just a shadow. My eyes... I'm going blind... No... my God, no... My fingers brushed my cheek and found a jagged scar running up my face. From the flames... but why didn't I feel this? Does it have something to do with the spell Isuku cast?
Ynou's coughs became louder and more raspy. Her whole body quivered with every cough as she plunged through the flames and my house to freedom.

"Ynou..." I whispered.
"...Eiydenn..." she mumbled softly. "Hold on."
I nodded and tightened my grip.
She pressed onward in determination as she breathed in deeply. " Hold... on... We're... going... through... the... window."
I gritted my teeth and held on for dear life. Before I could even brace myself, the glass was sent in every direction as we crashed through the window. For a few moments, we both remained suspended in mid-air. The ground came to meet us and we whacked into the hard dirt. Our bodies rolled a few feet from the force of our fall. Finally when we came to a halt, we glanced up at the house burning in front of our eyes. The smell of the flames stung my nostrils and the sound of the crackling fire was sickening. But I knew no other sensation. Couldn't see. Couldn't feel.
"Ynou," I whispered. "Are you all right?"
Ynou picked up her head and rubbed it tenderly. She looked at me, smiled, and opened her mouth to say something. Nothing came out. She tried again. No words. Just strangled sounds burst from her. She gasped and clasped her hands over her mouth.
Tears flowed from her eyes as I took her into my arms. She sobbed uncontrollably.
Even though I couldn't see her face when she pulled away from me, I could feel her pain. She had lost her voice forever, while I had lost my sight. All because of one woman.
Damn her.
Why hadn't I seen it? Why didn't I do something? Why do I always see things too late?
And why... why do I still feel something for her? Why does a part of me still want to find her again? Ynou whimpered in my arms, in so much pain from Isuku's treachery. I couldn't see my best friend anymore because of Isuku.
But somehow... I still love Isuku.
That doesn't mean I can forgive her. * * * * * * * * * * * *