Dreaming? Was I dreaming? I was in some kind of cave. I felt cold, as if my insides were freezing. I felt wisps of chills running all over my body, making my skin itch. As I looked around, I could tell something was off. I was about to call out for someone when the dark caves suddenly blazed into light. Abigail was before me, slashing one of her daggers right at my throat. I managed to stumble back, but she pressed on. Swing after swing, I staggered and dodged to the best of my ability. I tried to call to her, but my voice was silent. I couldn't get through to my friend, who continued to attack. Her fire was blazing, taking my breath and making me want to choke. My skin was burning now, blistering from the constant white hot attacks being delivered to me. I felt the floor give way under me and screamed out as I fell into the dark unknown.

Constellation IV

By: Satashi

Gasping, I awoke up with a start. I was sweating heavily and my throat was completely dry. Sitting up, I brought a hand to my face and wiped the matted hair away. I then slowly started to take in my surroundings. The first thing I noticed was the crushing silence and pain in my head. I testingly brought my hand up to my ear and rubbed it gently. I could feel the sensation, but heard absolutely nothing from it. My vision went down to the foot of my bed, where I saw Leah sitting in a chair with her upper body bent over to rest on the mattress I was on.

At that point I remembered what happened the last time I woke up, and looked around nervously. Whatever was going on was over now and I was free to do whatever I wanted. Leah's sketchbook was on my lap and I picked it up when I noticed a note on it. Kim, I spoke aloud to test out my hearing loss even farther. We know you can't hear, the doctors looked into it when you went back to sleep. Don't worry, you'll be okay in time. For now, you need to rest and regain your energy. Wake me when you read this please. I sat the notebook down and looked at Leah, who had her eyes open now. Hey, I greeted her.

Leah's lips moved as she sat up. After a moment, she looked really sad and her mouth moved again. When I shrugged at her, she looked like she positively wanted to cry. She took a few steadying breaths and went for her cell phone in her purse, as well as mine. Handing me one, she turned on my screen and flicked the pages over twice before tapping a new app that I've never seen before. She chose to ignore my wallpaper of Abigail and instead looked at her phone. I noticed mine said it was connected and Leah met my eyes, speaking once more, but into her phone.

Looking down, I noticed my app was now showing words on the screen. "Is this working right? Can you read what I'm saying?" I blinked and looked back up at her hopeful eyes. Her mouth started moving again and I looked down at the screen. "Are you okay? Do you hurt?"

"I can read it," I spoke aloud, hearing nothing. "What happened to me?"

"You were attacked by a monster in the cave." Leah began and my eyes read along with the text appearing on my phone. "Abigail and that Ryou person managed to save you, but you were hurt in the process. Your eardrums are both blown. They will heal in about three weeks we're told."

"Three weeks..." I sighed out thankfully. "So this isn't permanent?" The odd feeling of speaking but not hearing was starting to really get to me. My ears just felt... wrong. They itched and hurt, and the burning desire to snap my fingers beside them continued to grow by the second. "Abby!" I suddenly realized, scared. "I saw her! She's hurt! What happened!?"

Leah quickly stood and pushed my shoulders back down onto the bed when I tried to get up. She was telling me something and it took her a moment to realize I couldn't see my phone. When I nodded at her, she moved back and adjusted her chair to sit beside me. "Kim, wait, sit down. She's fine, stay in bed. You okay? Okay, just relax." The words on the screen weren't synced to my time and the feeling of always being late on the conversation added onto the overall feeling of annoyance and fear still lingering inside me.

"Okay," I sighed out, and again wanted to furiously rub my ears. "Abby. How is she?"

"She's..." The flashing dots on my screen told me that Leah was running her app but not detecting any words coming from her. I glanced up and saw the girl biting her bottom lip. When she noticed me, she quickly smiled and began speaking again. "She'll be okay. She's a little banged up from a fight with a monster. I didn't get to see it all, but she has a cut on her face and on her hands. A few bruises all around and..." Again, my app was telling me she wasn't talking anymore.

"And what?" I asked her, suddenly getting a bad feeling.

"Two broken ribs."

I looked at her in shock, trying to comprehend what I just read on my phone. I knew Abigail was nowhere near the powerhouse that Ryou was, but she was still really good. I trusted her with my life, and even when things got really out of hand, she had always come through for me. We always made it out without so much as a few cuts and scrapes, maybe a headache, but never any real damage. "What... What could possibly do that to her?"

Leah hesitated. "It doesn't matter, it's over now. She saved you and carried you back to everyone else. She's in the room over from here. They thought best to keep you separated for the time being.

I snorted, or at least it felt like I did. "Yeah, she's a little clingy." I smiled at my phone, expecting some kind of laugh to come up, but nothing did. When I looked up, Leah was smiling at me instead. My attention turned back to my phone where I now saw the line asking if I was hungry. "Famished," I answered her. "I'd really like to eat."

Abigail and I were released at the same time, each with a warning to take it easy. Although I felt like I had been through the wringer, I was pretty much no worse for the wear. Abigail, on the other hand, had a noticeable limp and seemed to favor her left side. She had clear stitch tape on her cheek and up to above her eyebrow where it looked like some kind of blade had slashed her. Thankfully she had told me that it wouldn't scar thanks to the quick treatment, but it still made me feel really uneasy. She was so close to being blind in one eye that it really made me start to fear for her chosen profession. Both her hands were also treated for cuts, although they were still wrapped to prevent her from re-opening them. The cuts on each hand were the exact same, two long gashes across her fingers and palms. I saw a few cuts and scrapes along her legs, but besides that, she seemed okay...

The purple haired girl seemed to notice me staring at her, and she gave me a light hug while we walked to the bus stop. Her mouth moved and I reached into my pocket to get my phone out. She did the same and spoke into it with her free hand holding it in front of herself. "What are you looking at, Kim?" The words on my screen appeared one after another, making me smile softly. They had apparently synced all our phones together for this as soon as they found out what had happened to me.

"Someone who saved my sorry butt yet again!" I laughed at her and she returned it. "So! I don't know about you two girls, but I think we should just go back to the hotel for a bit. I, for one, could really use a nice bath." I helped Abigail into to bus and fell onto a seat next to her. The sun was blazing hot again, and I really just wanted to rest. The silence was still weighing heavily on me, even though I knew it wouldn't last forever like I had initially been scared of. Abigail's condition also worried me to no end. I was still baffled how she managed to get hurt so bad, but I could ask her that once we were back inside the hotel.

The ride back was peaceful to me, as I dozed on and off through most of it, catching little two or three minute naps. Abigail and Leah were talking during my moments of being awake, their voices completely lost on me. When we arrived, Abigail was helped off the bus by Leah. Although I had fully intended to help her limp up to the room, my artistic girlfriend chose to take that spot instead. Once we were back into the privacy of our hotel room, I walked over to the window and looked through the curtains. It was a little hard on me to look out at the sprawling skyscrapers and themed buildings again. Just yesterday I had been in this very spot, almost bouncing in place from the excitement of my vacation with my girlfriends.

Now I stood here while I saw the light reflection of Leah helping Abigail lay on the bed. I turned and watched with a hurt heart as my green eyed friend make a face of pain as she laid gingerly on her back. I could tell she was grunting, but couldn't do anything to help the poor girl. "How do you feel?" I asked instead.

Abigail was panting, a bandaged hand on her forehead. It took me a moment to realize she was talking as well and I quickly pulled out my phone. Nothing was coming up on it and I made myself wait until she was finished before catching Leah's eye and pointing to my phone. With a nod, she pulled hers from her purse. I guess she was telling me what Abigail said, as the one on the bed suddenly looked at me in an apologetic way. I looked down and started to read when my phone app swapped to a group setting, color coding Leah's words in a brownish red while Abigail's was in purple.

Leah: She said she's in a little bit of pain, but nothing too major. She wants to know how you're feeling mainly.

Abigail: Sorry, Kim. Yeah, I'm okay. Are you doing okay? Can you hear anything at all?

I shook my head sadly, making Abigail look like she was about to cry. "What happened, Abby? What could have possibly hurt you so much and blown my eardrums like this?"

Abigail: I'd rather not talk about it. It was a hard battle and I... couldn't protect you.

Leah: You did everything you could, Abby! No one could have done any better.

Abigail: I should have done better! It's my fault she's...

The words cut off as Abigail angrily slammed her phone onto the bed. The hand on her forehead was now covering her eyes, but I could still tell she was sobbing. Leah was rubbing her arm, saying soft words to her. Even though her phone wasn't near her face, I still looked at mine to see if they were registering.

Leah: Abby, you did everything you could, we all know that. You had no choice but to fight and none of us were prepared for that... Kim doesn't blame you, stop thinking that.

Did she blame herself for what happened to me? I instantly thought back to literally just before we went into the caves. Abigail was by me, whispering that she would do anything to make sure I never got hurt... and here we are. Half an hour after she made her promise, she not only got her butt kicked, but she had somehow allowed me to be hit as well. I felt a stinging in my chest and walked over to the bed to sit next to her. She turned away from me at once, but I still reached out to touch the arm covering her face. I was allowed to move it and saw the girl crying rather hard. Her cheeks were red and her eyes puffy. She was taking hard breaths as well, a sign that she was trying to force herself to stop. "Abby," I whispered, getting her attention. "I don't know what happened, but I know you would never allow me to be hurt. I know deep down that you did everything for me, and that's probably why you're hurt the way you are. You did your best, and three weeks of silence is nothing compared to what would have happened if you weren't there."

My words seemed to make her cry more and I looked at Leah for support. She noticed and talked into her phone, my eyes darting down. "Kim, why don't you take a nice bath? I think she just needs a little time." She smiled at me, and I felt the pain in my chest even more when I realized that this was probably the best idea. With a little nod, I gave Abigail a soft pet and moved away to my suitcase. I knew I was probably a wreck and didn't smell too good either. I had worn my outfit for a lengthy bus ride, an entire day and night running around a new town, and even went exploring in caves, a hospital and back to the hotel as well.

When I made it to the bathroom, I closed the door behind myself and looked at the tub. It was a Jacuzzi style one, with water jets all over it for a nice water massage. It was large and circular, having a place to even lay with an area to place a folded up towel for your head. I made use of this at once, filling it with hot water and moving to the shower to clean myself off first. I could almost feel the sand, dirt, and grime run down my body, especially from my hair. It was relaxing, but at the same time infuriating. I felt as if water had gotten in my ear and dulled the sound.

It took everything I had to not start shaking my head and rubbing my ear to fix the problem. My shampoo was just as bad, and it started to finally sink in just how much I hated this feeling. The shock was wearing off, and I was alone now with the results. I knew I had to keep myself in check, and forced my hands to finish cleaning my body. When I was finally clean, I went back to the Jacuzzi and stepped in. Adjusting the water a bit more, I laid in the spot cut out for it and even dropped some bath salts that were given to us by the hotel.

The soft, floral scent paired with the warm water would have normally calmed me, but the feeling in my head was still racking at my mind. I lifted water up and let it fall, the droplets falling into the sparkling water. I knew the sounds water drops made, and expected them when they landed. Nothing came, of course, and I felt tears come to my eyes. I felt sad, scared, and furious all at the same time. I just couldn't get used to this and I tried dropping my hand in the water. I didn't hear the splash. I tried again, harder this time, for the same results. I felt everything building inside me and my tears started to fall down my cheeks as I hit the water over and over, trying to get something, some kind of sound to come.

I felt a hand on my shoulder, stopping my next hit, and turned to see Leah bent over the bathtub with her arm outstretched. She didn't say anything, but the look on her face told me everything I needed to know. I stopped my assault and leaned forward, my face in my hands, and let out a small sob. "Don't let Abby hear," I requested as quietly as I could. My girlfriend left me and I turned my head to watch her. She leaned out the door, probably talking to Abigail, and then closed the door. Her fingers clicked up the other light switches in the room and her eyes briefly went upwards. She must have turned a vent fan on as well to help muffle my cries.

I returned to my own little world, sniffling and crying onto my hugged knees just barely out of the water. Leah's hands came to my shoulders and massaged them for me. At first I felt a little nervous with being naked in front of her, but the feeling passed with time. We were dating, and he's seen me in much sexier things than nude. That, and I could tell she was purposely trying not to look at me directly, keeping her eyes at other parts of the room. I gave her a soft thanks and she nodded at me, leaning forward to kiss my head. She stood to leave, but stopped to pull her phone from her pocket. She spoke into it and turned it so I could read: The doctor said not to let water into your ears, so don't dunk your head. I nodded at her and she slowly left the room. Sinking down to my neck, I gave a soft sigh. I wanted nothing more than to just sleep.

I allowed myself a long time in the bath before I finally stood up. The bath salts left my skin feeling particularly soft and pleasant. I dried myself off as best I could, blow drying my hair and combing it until it fell around me in a long waterfall. Deciding to leave it like this, I put on my clean clothes, which consisted of a very modest pair of green panties and a long tee that intentionally didn't cover one shoulder and went down to my knees. I padded my way out into the main room and my two girls looked over at me from the large king sized bed. Leah looked content seeing me with my hair down again, and Abigail looked rather surprised by it.

I leaned over to the green eyed girl first, giving her a long hug. I could tell she sniffed me, as I felt her nose nuzzle past my ear. "Do I smell nice?" I asked her softly, getting a nod and a tight embrace. "Go shower, you need one," I teased her. She made a face at me but moved to stand up anyway. Her motion were strained, and I had to help her to even stay up. Her side made her wince and I could tell she was groaning. Two broken ribs... I couldn't imagine. "Do you need help?" She shook her head and limped away from me. Leah chased after her, and after a little conversation, went into the bathroom with her.

I fell onto the bed and looked at the television, which already had the subtitles going on at the bottom. I gave a small smile and scooted closer to the headboard, wondering two things. The first was how well we would all sleep together in the same bed, and the other was if this hotel had good room service or not.

Dreaming? Was I dreaming again? I was in the caves once more, the damp, stagnant air all around me. I was cold, and sopping wet. I knew what was coming, but still wasn't ready for it. Abigail was running towards me, slashing her daggers wildly. Flame danced around her body, illuminating the area around us and making my clothes dry out painfully against me skin. She was relentless, eyes narrowed as she focused on landing her strikes. We struggles and grappled together, me trying my best to calm her down. Our bodied collided and fell, rolling over each other on the hard, unforgiving stone floor. I was pinned and held roughly with one hand, the other pulling back, fire and smoke engulfing her fist.

I felt the intake of air as my body jerked. I was dazed but laying on something soft now instead of the cold cave floors. I still felt the entanglement around me, and I panicked, moving as quickly as I could to get away. The hands tried to grab me again and I was screaming now, but the silence was all encompassing. I couldn't see anything, Abigail's flame no longer visible. Somehow I was caught in something as I was grabbed at; some type of net. I felt myself falling again, landing shortly with a thunk. I scraped against the floor, trying to crawl away when I saw the light come again.

Only this time it was from a lamp next to the bed in the hotel. I gasped for air as I pressed my back against the wall, feeling the sweat roll down my face and neck. Leah was talking to me, one hand extended as she slowly crawled along the bed. My eyes darted around and found Abigail already next to me, face contoured in pain as she held her side and moved to grab me with the other. "Stay back!" I screamed before I could stop myself, jerking back falling over. I scrambled away from them both before my senses finally started to come back to my sleep hazed mind. I fell onto my back and looked up at the ceiling, gasping for air. "A... A dream... It was a dream..."

I closed my eyes and started to collect myself. Leah was standing over me and carefully kneeling down. I felt her help lift me to a sitting position and leaned against her while trying to focus on reality. My breath was slowing down to a regular pace and Abigail was near me soon after, offering a bottle of water, which I took. After a few hard gulps, I sighed and rubbed my eyes. "I'm sorry," I spoke to them, shaking my head. "Just... Just a really, really bad dream." I looked up to Abigail and watched her struggle to talk to me. I must have looked hopeless because she looked down after a moment in defeat. "I'll be okay. Thank you."

I stood with their help and looked over at the clock by the bed, which was now completely messed up from my sudden outburst. The time was a little over four in the morning, but I knew there was no going back to sleep from this. Leah was already looking for her phone and after she found it, tapped furiously to bring up the deaf communication app. When it came up, she started talking into her phone and I moved the sheets around to find mine, finding it on the floor after it was knocked over. Bringing up my app and looking at the message, I began to read

Leah: What on earth did you dream about? Was it that bad? Are you okay now?

Abigail: You looked terrified when you saw me, did something happen?

"I don't know, just... Bad dream." I rubbed the bridge of my nose. Worrying about Abigail fighting was making me struggle inside. I was the one who gave her the courage to apply to the adventurer guild, and I was the one who helped her on multiple occasions to keep her job. Now, she was cut, bruised, and beaten because of it. Did she resent me for it? Did she blame me for what happened? Why am I dreaming about Abigail being mad at me? "I can't go back to sleep... I think I'm going to go downstairs and walk around a bit."

Leah: I'll go too.

Abigail: I can't sleep anymore either. Let's go to the casino and play some games and get breakfast?

I sighed, knowing full well that there was no way of talking them out of this. I gave a small nod, and we set about getting ready for our day.

The casino wasn't nearly as fun without all the sounds, I discovered. At least this time I had my girls next to me, and we walked around together at the games we could play. We only had a few more days before going back home and I at least wanted to have some good memories. Together we tackled both the craps table as well as the poker tables. I tried my hand at playing, but not being able to follow along generally made it less fun. Finally, after a few hours of this, we found a blackjack table that wasn't populated at all. We all three sat down and greeted our dealer with a smile. Cards were dealt and the simple hand motions of the game really sucked me into it.

We spent a long time at the table, getting free drinks and snacks from cute waitresses that I couldn't help but notice were in skin tight outfits. This didn't slip by my friends and I blushed furiously when Leah arched an eyebrow at me after catching me looking. In my defense, I had been looking at something else at the time, but my eyes wandered out of pure curiosity!

Once we had our fun, downed some more food at the buffet, and even tried some of Leah's vegetarian meal, I was finally ready to go back to the room. Along the way, we stopped at a small gift store and purchased some wireless headsets for their phones. After a small set up, and clipping the microphone/speaker combo over their ears, they could now speak normally and have my phone pick it up. Although great in theory, being around so much noise and chatter in the casino rendered them useless from all the garbled text on my phone.

When we made it back to our temporary home, room service had already come in and cleaned up, also giving us freshly washed sheets and a made up bed. I fell onto it at once, happy at the feeling of relaxing. Although I was used to waking up early, the days were taxing and the alcohol constantly being offered to us by scantily clad bunny girls didn't help any.

I felt the bed shift and Abigail laid next to me, on her back while making painful expressions as she did so. Leah laid on my other side and laid an arm over my stomach. I felt very secure between them, and sighed out happily. Even if we couldn't talk right now, I could tell what they were trying to say. They were here for me, and always would be. Closing my eyes, I decided that a small nap wouldn't be too bad. I felt myself drift off once more, head falling slightly to the side as sleep overtook me once more.