Nothing had been resolved as we left the western gate and penetrated the forest. Asagi made attempts to lighten the mood. But as the one who had been seen naked, I was hardly going to allow that. We talked less after that, and I became less considerate. I know that I’ve lived a long life as a light elf, but sometimes I could be very childish. Unfortunately, this tendency has a way of tying me down and prevents me from moving. He only smiled with a perplexed expression as he followed me and practiced what I taught him about detection.
When it came to combat, my body would move. It was something I had done so many times. But it was here that my consideration for him was lacking. It was lacking to a dangerous degree. And then a sense of self-loathing pierced into my heart like a thorn.
It was after we had eaten dinner. Asagi had looked at the flames and chuckled. Who knows what he was thinking when doing so, but he then looked at me and bowed.
“Daniela, thank you. Everything’s different from yesterday. It’s like I’m seeing things differently now.”
For a moment, I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. But the first thing that entered my mind was the incident of that morning. What was he saying? What had he been thinking as he chuckled a moment ago? That was what I thought.
“Aye, because you saw me naked. Swine.”
Thinking back, it was possible that I was being a little harsh on him. If I could return to yesterday, I would give myself a good slap. Asagi froze for a moment as he continued to look down, then he raised his face, and he was wearing the same perplexed smile he had most of this afternoon.
“Let’s sleep separately tonight. I’m sure we’ll feel more comfortable.”
So saying, he stood up and disappeared into the forest. I wondered what he was up to, but it did give me time to think.
What did he mean by seeing things differently? What had we done today? He saw me naked. We came to the forest. We hunted forest wolves. I taught him how to detect the presence of creatures in the forest.
Recalling all of this, I thought back on what he had said. And I realize. Detection. His view of the forest was what had changed, not his view of me.
It is there that I finally realize what I had said. Just as I stood up to look for him, he returned carrying a rock and some vines. He had adeptly braided the vines into a rope. In the short time I had to admire his handiwork, he had already climbed up the tree and I was unable to apologize to him. He was already up there. Was he in a rush?
I was just about to call up to him when he swung the rock around the trunk of the tree, securing himself with the vines. I see. There were stories of him sleeping in trees, but I hadn’t known how he did it until now.
There was no time now. It was rather sad of me. My own immaturity had chased him up a tree. There were no words to express the distaste I felt for myself then, but I had nothing left to do but enter the tent, which leads to the present moment.
I pour some soup into my bowl and take a sip. It was warm. Just like his heart. I sighed and then sensed a presence nearby. Something was approaching me. And then I knew; it was Asagi. He had come back.
I would apologize to him this time. Thank him for the soup. I drank the rest in one gulp and looked in the direction he would appear from. To apologize. So we could continue to work together.
Then Asagi appeared, shouldering a magnificent doe on his back.