What Could Never Be

Part 02

"Dammit! Open up!" Nagi pounded at the door with his fist again, causing it to shudder on its hinges, and again received no response. Cursing to himself, he grabbed his staff from the counter-top and stepped back. "Undecim spiritus lucis, coeuntes segittant inimicum, sagitta magica!"

With a roar, the eleven magical blasts tore through the relatively flimsy wooden barrier, sending splinters flying in all directions. Smiling in self-satisfaction, Nagi stepped through the dusty entrance. "Get your asses out here!" he roared into the gloom. A shuffling could be heard further within the darkness, and Nagi jumped slightly when the angered face of the bartender appeared.

"Haven't you done enough!" Spittle splattered over Nagi and his clothes. Trying to keep hold of his temper, Nagi wiped his face off and leveled a powerful gaze at the rough man.

"Yes, I think I HAVE done enough. Now I want you cowardly bastards to return the favor." The bartender stiffly shook his head and backed away into the shadows.

"We don't owe you nothin'. Matter of fact, you've probably killed everyone in the village, ya fool!" Nagi frowned. The Uzoku had said something along those lines, but Nagi had dismissed it as a mere desperate threat. Perhaps there was something to it…

"I killed all but one of them! They CAN'T attack the village." The bartender shook his head sadly.

"You just don't get it, do you? That was a small raiding force. It's been so long since we've put up any resistance, they don't send many demons to collect the payment. Now that you've attacked them, we're ALL dead. Not even you're powerful enough to stop an army of the devils."

Nagi's eye twitched. He hadn't considered that. He knew the man was right; even if Eva was in perfect condition, they wouldn't be able to take on more than twenty of the bird-demons at a time, and an army was much larger than that. He leaned against the wall in thought. MAYBE I reacted a bit too fast… He coughed as he inhaled some of the falling dust, then shook his head and stared at the floor. Some Magister Magi I am. Tried to help and ended up killing the entire village. He was tempted to laugh at himself, but realized that this would only promote the general impression that he was insane.

He pushed himself back up, having reached a decision. Stepping further into the darkness, he felt around for the bartender. "Get your hands offa me!"

Found him. Nagi cleared his throat. "If you'll just help my companion, I'll follow the demons to the top of that mountain and try to negotiate with them. Or at least take the blame from the village." Sounds pretty reasonable.

In such a dire situation, the bartender's laugh was MOST incongruous. "HELP the little lady that killed 'em? You've gotta be kiddin' me!" Nagi suddenly found himself stumbling out of the small tunnel-like escape route.

"Hey! You can't just leave her like this! She could die!"

"Hmph. Your point being? Because of you and her, we're probably all dead. I think that's a fair enough punishment."

With a growl, Nagi turned and stormed out of the bar, stopping long enough to grab several bottles of strong liquor.

Outside, Chachazero hovered over her master protectively, awaiting the return of the Thousand Master. The doll looked up as the bar doors banged open, revealing an irate Magi with several bottles of alcohol. "She's not any better, Nagi."

Nagi didn't answer, merely nodded and tucked the bottles into any available pockets. He shoved one at the diminutive magic-enhanced doll. "Hold this."

Somewhat in fear, Chachazero grasped the bottle quickly. She stepped back as Nagi bent over and picked up her master easily. Being as gentle as possible, he leapt down the wooden stairs to the road, and immediately started off at a pace Chachazero was hard put to maintain. "Where are we going, Thousand Master?"

He didn't bother to look back at her. "A little ways into the woods."

"Isn't the village going to help Master Evangeline? She DID help save their sorry hides."

Although she couldn't see his face, his disgust was more than evident in his voice. "No. They won't be giving us any assistance."

Gee, I hope he's a qualified surgeon then. Chachazero decided it was probably best to NOT voice that thought, and merely tried harder to keep up with the long strides of Nagi Springfield.

For nearly half an hour, the group made their way into the nearby forest. Chachazero was quite thankful for her rather short height, as the thorn bushes were a couple of feet above her head. Thorns were SUCH an annoyance, although Nagi seemed to pay them no heed, aside from keeping Evangeline safe from their grasping claws.

He hadn't spoken since they'd left the village, and seemed to know where they were going, so Chachazero had remained silent. She was getting tired now, a sign that her master was getting weaker, and was about to demand that Nagi stop his still-fast walk, when he stopped, looked around, then with a sigh, sat Evangeline against a fallen tree. He walked about in silence, kicking at various bits of debris until he'd cleared a ten-by-ten camp site of some sort. Laying the bottles of alcohol against the log as well, he slipped his long coat off and draped it over Evangeline's small form. With a sigh, he lowered himself to her side and leaned tiredly against the fallen tree.

"Bring me that bottle, then go get some firewood. Quickly." Normally, Chachazero would have argued, but because it was in the best interests of her master, Chachazero complied, then dashed off to search for some dry wood.

After the puppet was gone, Nagi slumped against the log, despair beginning to take its toll on the normally energetic man. Despair and confusion. He couldn't understand his reaction to the diminutive vampire. He was a Magister Magi, and thus it was his duty to help people. He'd done so ever since the war, so it wasn't something new to him. When he'd saved her, he figured it would end there, like all the others had. But she'd had other ideas, and try as she might, she couldn't hide her feelings from one so adept at reading them.

Her feelings, he could handle, but his were the ones that were confusing him so. He knew for fact that the life of a Magister Magi was indeed a violent and dangerous one. Being the chivalrous man that he believed himself to be, he refused to allow himself to subject someone as innocent as Evangeline to the pain that could come from it. Although her innocence was questionable.

After having been around the vampire for as long as he had, he had to admit that he'd grown fond of her. Perhaps too fond. If anything, he didn't want her to become involved in one of his escapades and get killed. He wasn't even sure that she would survive the fight they'd already been through. Love was one of his biggest fears, and he'd come to the conclusion that that very emotion was trying its hardest to trap him. It didn't particularly make sense; Evangeline was so different from anyone he'd ever been with for an extended period of time. And yet, already he had such strong feelings. It was rather perplexing.

With a sigh, he glanced at the blonde devil beside him. Her features were refined, even in their pain. Beneath her delicate eyelids, her eyes roamed, giving proof to an uneasy sleep. A small part of his heart cried out for him to find some way to comfort her, but he knew none. It caused a greater pain when he realized that to help her, he'd have to first harm her.

Despite, or perhaps because of, his feelings, Nagi would do his best to save the woman beside him. Finally breaking from his rather heavy thoughts entirely, Nagi frowned and glanced around for Chachazero. "She should be back by now, surely…"

He waited several moments more, listening to the rhythmic sound of Evangeline's breathing before standing up, brushing his pants off in the process. From his new vantage point, he found that he was still unable to locate the doll. Must've gone farther than I thought… Worriedly scratching at the back of his head, Nagi debated chasing off after the thing. That, of course, meant leaving Eva unattended; a thought which he was none too thrilled with. He continued to look around, although he didn't seriously believe he'd see the puppet. Thus it was quite understandable when he nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt something tug at his pants' leg.

"I've got fire wood, Thousand Master." Nagi looked down into the playful eyes of Chachazero, relief flooding his features. To her left was a pile of wood larger than her, and upon closer inspection, he found that it was all completely dry, and composed of good hard wood. It'd last quite a while in the fire.

He patted the puppet's head paternally, then scooped the wood into his arms and made his way to the center of his home-made clearing. After several minutes, he abandoned the fancy western style campfire, the sort that looked like a tent or something, and decided to simply pile the wood up and light it on fire.

With a few muttered words, a flame soon burned cheerfully in the slowly dieing light. For several seconds, he stared forlornly at a smaller log he intended to move closer to the fire, until, with a sigh, he stooped over and gripped the rough edges. Grunting, he straightened and dragged the end of the log a couple of feet towards the fire. He quickly stepped to the other end and repeated the process 'till the fire was within arm's reach if one were sitting on the log.

Satisfied with the new furniture arrangements, Nagi returned to Eva's side and fixed a calculating gaze on her. For a little while, he merely watched her, wondering how he was going to do what he intended. Finally he scooped up one of the liquor bottles and opened it in a single smooth motion. Much to Chachazero's amazement, he immediately downed the entire bottle at once, and in rather short order. Gasping for breath, he handed the bottle to the puppet. "Go rinse this, then fill it with water. Be quick about it."

Still somewhat in awe, Chachazero nodded and dashed back down the way they'd come. They'd noticed a stream a little ways back that seemed to be fairly clean.

As the puppet left his field of vision, Nagi returned his full attention to Evangeline. He easily lifted her limp form and stepped over to the log closer to the fire. He paused thoughtfully for a moment before laying her atop the log on her stomach. It was thankfully wide enough that there was little chance she'd roll off.

With a nervous gulp, he gently pulled her long black cloak off of her, folded it up and placed it gently beneath her head. Somewhat nervously, Why the hell am I nervous? he unfastened Eva's dress and pushed it to the sides.

A gasp involuntarily escaped his lips as he saw for the first time the wound that had been dealt her. "Damn..." Running from the bottom of her right shoulder blade to her left side of her rear was a ragged gash. The cut ran an inch deep into her pale skin, made paler by the loss of blood. The blood was not totally lost, though, most of it was soaked into her dark dress, although without that material to restrain it, a steady flow of blood ran down her left leg and onto the log.

With unsure hands, Nagi opened a second bottle of liquor, looked longingly at it, the began slowly pouring it across Eva's wound.

Even unconscious, a groan of pain escaped Eva as the liquid seared its way into the gap. Unknowingly, Nagi flinched in sympathy pain. Tiny white bubbles frothed at the edges of the cut, and Nagi nodded in satisfaction at noticing them. Good sign... He finished emptying the bottle and sat it aside.

The only thing he could do now wait for Chachazero to return. He sat back against the log, and allowed his head to roll to the side to face Eva. Pain was clearly written across her face, and as he watched, he noticed that she was beginning to shiver. With a grunt, he stood. "Must've lost more blood than I thought..." He stepped over the log and swiped his cloak from the ground where it had fallen, then spun and unfurled it over Eva's slight figure, allowing the material to settle comfortably across her. His mood lightened somewhat as he noticed her face soften slightly.

It wasn't five minutes later that Chachazero came bounding through the campsite holding the bottle of spring-water. "Here ya go! Good clean water!" With a proud air, she held the bottle out to Nagi, who took it appreciatively and sat it beside the other bottles.

"I've got two more favors to ask of you, Chachazero." She raised an eyebrow, and decided to follow along. It was for her master, after all. "First, I need you to give me both of your knives. Then, I need you to take this," Nagi held out Eva's cloak, "and unravel the part that does NOT have blood soaked through it."

Chachazero blinked in surprise, but handed Nagi two knives, the smallest she had, and sat down with the cloak. With a nod of thanks, Nagi dropped a large rock in the edge of the fire and sat both of the knives, blade first, on the rock. Next, he held the bottle of water over the crackling flame by the neck. He quickly regretted the action, and grabbed a bit of Eva's cloak from Chachazero to use as a glove so as not to cook his hand too badly.

The two sat in silence for several moments, concentrating on the tasks at hand. Grimacing, Nagi decided that the water was hot enough. I REALLY don't want to do this. But it had to be done. Holding the bottle carefully with his right hand, he tipped it over and splashed about half of it on his left palm. He ground his teeth together to stop himself from crying out in pain as the boiling water cascaded over his fingers. "Ch...Chachazero. Come here. I need you to pour this water on my other hand."

Chachazero immediately stood and raced over to him, rather frightened by the pained look in his eyes. She obediently took the bottle and dumped it's contents on his other hand. A moan managed to break through his defense, and he clenched his fist in pain. "What was that for, Nagi?"

He waited for the wave of pain to pass before replying. "It was to sterilize my hands." It took several seconds for the ramifications of the statement to sink in.

Chachazero'd THOUGHT he might do something like this, but hadn't seriously considered it. "You're actually gonna try and do surgery on master? But you aren't a doctor!" She waved her small arms about for emphasis.

Nagi stood, not seeming to pay attention to the puppet. "It's either that or let her bleed to death. The people in the village are refusing to help us at all. This is our only choice." The amount of bitterness in his voice shocked Chachazero somewhat.

Such conviction… She stared on as he slowly flexed his fingers despite the evident pain it caused him.

"Well? You gonna finish unraveling that cloak?" Chachazero blinked, then nodded and sat back down against he log and again started to unravel her master's dark cloak.

Nagi turned his attention back to Evangeline now that the pain in his hands was bearable. If only I had a needle… However it was NOT likely that, even in Chachazero's collection of sharp objects, there was a sewing needle within a mile of their campsite. Couldn't hurt to ask though. "Chachazero, you don't happen to have any kind of needle, do you?" He trained his brown eyes on her hopefully.

The doll sat in silent thought for a few seconds; long enough for Nagi to lose hope and look away. "I THINK I do, Thousand Master." His head snapped around to look critically at her.

"You're sure? You really do?" The puppet nodded slowly, and stood up to fish through it's own small cloak. Nagi had figured the cloak's had some magical properties, but it still surprised him when the doll pulled a sword twice its own height from the dark wrap. After rummaging around for several moments, Chachazero brought out a rather long needle with a gleeful yelp.

"Here ya go. Just cleaned it a couple days ago, too." With a quiet "thank you," Nagi took the needle from her and examined it closely. It appeared to be the sort that was used for the targeting of pressure points in torture. It seemed to be somewhat dull, he expected from heavy use, but otherwise in good condition. He'd have to tie the thread to the end of the needle, as there was no eye though.

His mood slightly improved, Nagi sat it beside the knives on the rock for sterilization, then decided to relax until Chachazero had completed unraveling his thread. It was a good thing, he decided as he examined Eva's gash again, that he didn't have any particular reaction to blood. There was a rather large amount of the thick red liquid, after all.

Within minutes, Chachazero tugged on his sleeve and held a rather large pile of black string out to Nagi. "That's all. Everything else has blood on it."

Nagi took the string and sat it by Eva's head, the reached into the fire and pulled the rock out quickly, trying not to dump the weapons from atop it. He uncorked another bottle of liquor and splashed it over the surface of the super-heated weapons, both to cool them and sterilize them. They hissed and spat steam as the liquid covered them, but quickly lost their cherry-red glow. When he was satisfied that they were cool enough to handle, but hot enough to perform their job, he wrapped the remains of Eva's cloak around his right hand and picked up one of the knives. He could feel the heat even through his make-shift glove.

Grimacing, Nagi strode quickly to Eva and pulled back one side of her gash slightly. Blood gushed anew from it, and with a shudder of revulsion, Nagi stuck the edge of the knife into the wound. The blade hissed again, this time as blood made contact with its heated surface. Nagi watched in fascination as the heated blade burned into Eva's flesh and cauterized the wound. The acrid smell of burned flesh and blood reached Nagi's senses, and he had to fight the urge to step back in disgust.

Chachazero looked on in fascination as Nagi continued to cauterize the impossibly long wound. As he'd expected, he'd needed the second knife to complete the job, as the first cooled down through the process. Nagi sat both of the knives back on the rock, and motioned Eva's partner towards them. "Those need to be cleaned, Chachazero." She nodded, but didn't make any move to retrieve them. Rather she stood, waiting morbidly for the next step of "Dr. Springfield's" emergency surgery.

With a dismissive shrug, the Thousand Master turned back to his patient, and picked up the by-now-cool needle and the lump of thread. A dissatisfied frown crossed his face as he un-knotted the first couple feet of the black material, but it let up once he had done so, and tied the end to the wider back end of the needle. He knelt back down beside the injured vampire and set to work, slowly sliding the needle through the first part of her wound.

An hour later, Nagi collapsed backward onto the ground, relief flooding his features. He'd never been too good at the domestics, but he was certainly proud of the job he'd done sewing up the blonde girl before him. Tiredly, he handed the needle and short bit of remaining thread off to Chachazero, who merely dumped the thread into the fire, and sat the needle beside the bloodied knives. "Is Master Evangeline going to be okay, Thousand Master?" Worry laced the doll's words throughout.

Nagi nodded. "I think so. The bleeding stopped, and the gash's closed. She'll need a LOT of time to recover though. Once she's a little bit healthier, I'll try a healing spell. With that kind of damage, it wouldn't have done much, but after she's healed a little, it should be a big help." He closed his eyes tiredly and rolled over onto his side. "Wake me up if she tries to move or anything.

Chachazero nodded as Nagi let loose a rather loud yawn. Taking her duties, very seriously, the doll walked quickly over to her master and sat down on the edge of the log.

Nagi woke, cold and hungry the next morning. The fire'd gone out sometime in the night, and Chachazero had apparently neglected to restart it. Should've added that into my orders he thought as he sat up and rubbed at his eyes with his fists. He blinked several times and turned his gaze to Evangeline. She was laying on the log, just as he'd left her, and seemed to be sleeping fairly peacefully. He smiled and staggered to his feet, reaching for one of the extra bottles of alcohol.

With a groan, he gripped the cork and yanked, grinning when the customary 'pop' echoed through the woods, then grimaced as his burnt hands yelled at him for gripping the cork too hard. He downed nearly half the bottle before stopping for breath. At least his hands didn't hurt so bad anymore…

His mood significantly improved, he strode up to the sleeping vampire, concern clouding his eyes. He knelt down beside the log, and noticed for the first time that Chachazero was not at her assigned post. He frowned, but focused entirely on Evangeline. He sat his bottle on the ground and slowly lifted his cloak from Eva, nodding in satisfaction at seeing the state of her wound. There was no fresh blood, and his stitching hadn't been bothered. With any luck, the grievous cut would heal normally, although there would certainly be a scar, that was indisputable.

"What do you think you're looking at, Nagi Springfield?" Evangeline's low voice was almost too quiet to hear, but Nagi picked it up clear as the first ray of the morning sun.

"Nothin'." He grinned and sat back, looking Eva straight in her eyes. "Nice ass, by the way, Kitty."

Nagi found it utterly amazing that Eva possessed enough blood to blush as fiercely as she did. "Damn you, Nagi!" Her glare was hard enough to crack diamond, but Nagi merely laughed it off.

"I was just checkin' your wound, Eva." He smiled cordially. "Makin' sure it was healing properly."

Her face still red, Eva's glare subsided somewhat. "Is it?" As if as an afterthought, she added, "And don't you DARE call me "Kitty" again."

He shrugged. "It's doing as good as can be expected, considering I'm the one that stopped the bleeding and sewed it up." He shook his head. "You can hardly expect someone like me to do work that'd be on par with a normal doctor."

Eva's hard look immediately softened. "YOU sewed it up?" She looked down at the surface of the log. "Thank you."

Finding the mood to be significantly more somber, Nagi took another swig of alcohol, then held the bottle towards Evangeline. "Would you like some?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Where did you get liquor at? This doesn't exactly look like a bar." She cast her eyes around their camp-site for the first time. "But yeah, I'll take some." She feebly reached for the bottle, but Nagi's hand stopped her.

"Don't move, you dummy. You've lost a LOT of blood." He raised the mouth of the bottle to her lips. "Just say somethin' when you're done drinking."

She greedily gulped at the liquid, and Nagi silently despaired over the amount she was drinking. Eva made a small noise in her throat, and Nagi quickly removed the bottle, hastily corking it and setting it beside him. The side away from Eva. "Thank you, Nagi."

He nodded and leaned back against the log, his head resting on her left arm, and looked up into the morning sky. Comfortable silence ruled the sylvan clearing for several minutes. Eva finally broke the silence, her weak voice sounding slightly more stronger than before. "Where's Chachazero?"

Nagi shrugged. "Dunno. I told her to stay by you while I was asleep, but when I woke up, the fire was out and she was gone." He glanced at the rock he had deposited her weapons on the night before, and found it empty. "She might be off cleaning her knives and needle."

Eva's eyes widened. "Knives and needle? What the hell did you do to me?" She tried to sit up, but with Nagi's head on her arm, and her loss of blood, she couldn't.

"Oh, relax. I cauterized your wound, then I sewed you up. Nothin' big."

Eva relaxed. "How bad is it?"

He shrugged. "Bad. It's gonna leave a BIG scar. It starts at your right shoulder blade, and ends on your left butt-cheek."

Eva flushed slightly at his description, then frowned. It sounded bad, and now that she really thought about it, she realized it hurt like hell. She hadn't noticed before, but now it felt as if a fire had been lit all across her back. It wasn't merely on the surface, but seemed to burn under her skin. It also itched, but that seemed less pressing than the pain.

Her own weakness was also almost painful. She hated having to rely on someone else, but because of her blood loss, she'd have no choice. Unless he'd let her have a drink. Just a sip…

"Hey, Nagi. You wanna help me heal faster?"

With a suspicious glare, he turned to look at. "Yes. Why?" She propped her head up on her right hand.

"Well, since you're SUCH a powerful mage," she rolled her eyes, "if I were to drink some of your blood, it'd do a great deal of good for me." She grinned sweetly at him, exposing her fangs.

Nagi shuddered, but seemed to actually be considering it. For several moments he mulled it over, the nodded. "I suppose that works."

Eva blinked in surprise, then complete shock as Nagi held out his right arm for her. "Really? You're not just kicking me while I'm down, so to speak, are you?" She cast a skeptical glare at the proffered arm.

In response, he merely rolled up his sleeve and closed his eyes. "I trust you won't take TOO much. Will you, Kitty?"

Considering his generosity, Eva decided not to dignify the remark with a response, and instead merely gripped his wrist and brought his arm closer. As she got close enough to do as she intended, she noticed that his hand felt particularly odd. She glanced at it and noted that it seemed burned. How did he burn himself? She was tempted to ask, but decided that she should go ahead and take good blood while she could. As gently as possible, she sunk her fans into the soft skin on the inside of his elbow, expertly hitting the veins.

Nagi couldn't help but feel his stomach turn as Eva slurped on his arm. How did I convince myself to let her do this? It was, thankfully, not a long process, and he soon felt the slight pressure on his arm ease up as she finished her drink.

"Thank you, Nagi. I feel much better." She wiped the blood off of her face with her hand and licked it from her fingers. "You've got particularly potent blood."

"Thanks…I think." It was one of those things that one just didn't know how to respond to. He noticed that the color was indeed back in her cheeks. "I take it you're feeling better already?"

Eva nodded, and after pushing Nagi's head off of her arm, rolled onto her side and looked closer at Nagi. What's he blushing about? Nagi's face was indeed rather red. And where the hell's that draft coming from? She looked down at herself, all but screamed, and rolled back onto her stomach, jerking her dress down to it's proper level.

Nagi backed away slowly, his hands in the air. "It was necessary for me to get to your wounds!"

Eva started to get up again, when a small scream broke through their confrontation. "Chachazero?" A pained look crossing her face, Eva sat up on the log, Nagi's cloak falling to the ground.

The Thousand Master turned to look behind him, where the scream had come from. After several seconds of watching, he could make out the small form of Chachazero racing through the underbrush. "Help! Master, help!" She didn't seem to have either of her weapons, and appeared to have sustained some damage of some kind.

As fast as possible, Nagi grabbed his staff from it's previous position and took a defensive stance in front of Evangeline. "What's wrong, Chachazero?"

Fear burned in the puppet's eyes. "More of the demon-thingies, Nagi! A whole bunch of them attacked me while I was washing off my knives!" The small figure dashed between Nagi's legs and up onto the log beside Eva. "Master, you have to hide! You can't do much casting in your condition!" Eva waved off her partner's words.

"I'm feeling a lot better, actually."

The doll slapped her on the back, and Eva involuntarily cried out before smacking Chachazero into the remains of their fire. "Dammit! Why'd you do that?"

"To prove that you're not well enough to fight, Master." Nagi had to admit, he was impressed at the little thing's loyalty to Eva.

"The puppet's right, Eva. You're not in a condition where you're much good in a fight. Sit this one out, okay?" He grinned roguishly at her and brandished his staff as if it were a sword. "'Tis my duty to protect you."

Despite his joking, Eva managed to remain indignant towards the man before her. "I don't have to be in good physical condition to cast spells! I can fight just fine from back here."

"Too bad. I can't guarantee I'll be able to get 'em all before they get to you, and if I can't that means you're physically defenseless. How many more scars like that do you think it'll take to kill you?"

The sincere look in his eyes gave Eva cause to pause and rethink it. She knew he was right, but how could she let him treat her wounds, save her from death, then just run off when there was trouble? She looked between Nagi and Chachazero, then sighed in defeat. "Fine. But don't get yourself killed, Thousand Master. If I can retreat, then so can you."

He shrugged in acceptance. "Sure. If it gets too tough, I'll follow you." He smiled confidently at her. "Now go. I'll send up a blue flare if I'm in trouble and you should duck into hiding, and a green one if I'm done with 'em. If you see the green one, throw some sort of flare out so I can find you."

Eva nodded quickly. Sounds reasonable enough. "C'mon, master." Chachazero tugged at the hem of Eva's dress, pointing into the forest. "They're getting closer."

Eva looked down at her partner, then back at Nagi. With an oddly emotive glance at the Thousand Master, Eva began her slow retreat into the forest.

Nagi's eyes followed her until the shade obscured her entirely. At least SHE'LL be okay. Now to worry about me. The sounds of creatures crashing through the forest was loud enough that Nagi could tell that they were nearly to his position. He began running his first spell through his mind, making sure he had it right. A growl to his left caused his eyes to snap open, and his stance to shift to his left. "Let's go."