Paragon Of Destruction 46 Saying Goodbye
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"One moment!" Jiang Fei's m.u.f.fled voice sounded through the door.
When she finally opened the door, Arran was startled at her appearance. Her hair was disheveled and there were dark rings around her eyes, as if she hadn't slept in days.
"Sorry for making you wait," she said with a faint smile. "Come in."
As he entered, Arran saw that the main room of the cottage was in a state of chaos. The floor was littered with scrolls and piles of books, and he wondered just what Jiang Fei had been doing these past two weeks.
"Are you okay?" he asked. By now, he was beginning to feel worried about her.
"I'm fine," she said, although she didn't look it. "I've just been slightly busy."
"Was that why you couldn't see me earlier?" Arran asked, thinking of how little he had seen of her in the previous two weeks.
She nodded wearily. "There were some things I had to finish before we leave."
"What could be so important?" Arran asked.
"I'll show you," Jiang Fei replied. "Now, where did I put…"
Without waiting for a reply, she started rummaging through the scrolls and books on the floor. Although Arran wondered how anyone could possibly find anything amid the chaos, she emerged after just a few moments, holding two scrolls in her hands.
"These are for you," she said, handing the scrolls to Arran.
"What are these?" Arran asked. As he looked at the scrolls he could see that there was fresh handwriting on them, and he realized it belonged to Jiang Fei.
"The first contains my notes on Adept Kadir's Windblade spell," Jiang Fei said. "I know he gave you the spell when we left the monastery, but I also know you haven't spent any time studying it yet. With these notes, you should have an easier time learning it."
Arran blanched as he realized he had all but forgotten about Adept Kadir's gift. The past half year he had spent on Body Refinement, and he hadn't given a single thought to learning the spell the man had given him.
"The second," Jiang Fei continued, "explains how to use Master Fireheart's Shadow seals. Your Shadow seals were broken before you had a chance to learn them, so I have spent the past two weeks writing down everything I know about them for you. It should be enough for you to learn how to make your own seals."
"Thank you," Arran said, although he knew mere thanks were nowhere near enough for what Jiang Fei had done for him. He now understood why she had vanished for two weeks, and why she looked so exhausted — writing these scrolls was months worth of work, and she had done it in just two weeks.
"You don't need to thank me," she replied. "Just promise me that you'll study both of them every day."
"I will try," Arran said.
Jiang Fei firmly shook her head. "Every. Day."
"Alright," Arran said. "You have my word." After Jiang Fei's efforts, that was the least he could do.
Jiang Fei smiled, a satisfied look on her face. "There's another thing I have for you," she said.
"You've already given me too much," Arran replied. "I can't accept more."
She ignored his words and walked over to one of the wooden closets on the side of the room, where she took out a black bundle of cloth which she gave to Arran.
"It's a robe," she said. "Try it on. You can change in the bedroom."
Arran did as she said, careful not to step on any of the scrolls that were littering the floor as he walked to the bedroom.
The robe was simple and black, made from a silk-like fabric that was thick but supple, and lacking any unnecessary adornments. As soon as Arran put it on he could tell it was well-made, and it fit his body as if it had been made for him.
When he stepped out of the bedroom, a smile appeared on Jiang Fei's face.
"Good," she said. "Much better than those awful coats you like so much."
"I wear those for a reason," Arran objected. Although he liked the armored coats, his main reason for wearing them was the protection they offered.
"They make you look like a thug," Jiang Fei said flatly. "But you won't need them anymore. The robe is enchanted, and it should be strong enough to stop an arrow or a sword."
"Enchanted?" Arran frowned as he spoke.
He knew little about enchantment, although he was reminded of the Memory Amulet he had taken from a group of bandits many months ago. Master Zhao had told him there were enchanting techniques inside, but to this day, Arran had been unable to sense the contents.
Putting aside his thoughts about the amulet, he asked, "How did you get your hands on an enchanted robe?"
Jiang Fei blushed. "I begged Uncle Bear for something I could give to you," she said. "It took some pleading, but he finally gave me this robe. It's one he wore himself when he was younger."
Arran marveled at the thought of Lord Jiang being thin enough to fit in the robe, and he wondered just how many centuries ago that had been.
Suddenly, Jiang Fei stepped forward, and before Arran could react she hugged him. For several moments they stood silently, bodies pressed together. Finally, Jiang Fei broke the embrace, and when she stepped back, Arran could see there were tears in her eyes.
"I will miss you," she said. Her voice trembled as she spoke.
"I will miss you too," he replied, realizing that it was true.
He did not know exactly when it had happened, but during the time they had spent together, they had grown increasingly close. Now, Arran found himself wis.h.i.+ng they did not have to part ways.
They spent the hours that followed together, talking to each other while walking through the estate's gardens. As they walked, Arran felt the urge to take Jiang Fei's hand, but each time he was about to do so, he felt a sudden wave of anxiousness.
He had fought to the death against bandits, a Jiang Clan swordsman, and even Academy mages. Yet now, he found himself anxious at the thought of holding Jiang Fei's hand.
He shook his head at the absurdity of his sudden nervousness, and ignoring his hesitation, he reached out, taking Jiang Fei's hand in his own.
To his relief, she accepted his hand quietly, moving closer to him as they kept walking. They talked about trivial things, both of them unwilling to discuss their imminent separation.
Finally, the light of the day began to fade.
"Will we see each other again?" Arran asked.
"We will," Jiang Fei said. "I'll make sure of it. Just… promise me you won't die."
Arran frowned. "I'll definitely try to—"
"That's not good enough," she interrupted him. "Promise me."
"I promise," Arran said.
Even without the promise, he would, of course, do whatever he could to stay alive, no matter how many dead Academy mages and bandits it took. If that still wasn't enough… well, it wasn't like Jiang Fei could get angry at him if he was unable to keep the promise.
"You should go pack your things now," Jiang Fei said. "After that, we'll go see Uncle Bear."
Arran frowned. "Pack my things? I thought I still had a few days left."
Jiang Fei shook her head. "You have to leave tonight, before we do. The fewer people who know where you are, the better. After the fight with the Redstone branch, there will be people looking for revenge. Uncle Bear can protect me, but you… you will be by yourself."
Less than an hour later, Arran was walking with Jiang Fei and Lord Jiang along the outer wall of the estate. They had already said their goodbyes, and now, Arran was about to leave — to travel to the Shadowflame Society, by himself.
"It should be right around here," Lord Jiang said. "Ah! There it is!"
He pointed toward a seemingly unremarkable part of the wall. Only when Arran looked very closely could he make out a small door that had been painted to blend in with the rest of the wall.
"This leads to a small path outside the estate," Lord Jiang said as he opened the door. "If you follow it for an hour or two, you should be able to bypa.s.s the city unnoticed."
Arran nodded. The idea of leaving still filled him with worry, but there was nothing he could do about that now. At this point, all he could do was move ahead.
"One last thing," Lord Jiang said. "That starmetal sword of yours… Take good care of it. As you use it, it will grow more powerful."
"Thank you," Arran said with a nod. "For everything."
"Don't mention it," Lord Jiang replied. "I… ah, I will leave the two of you alone now. Good travels, and stay safe."
With a last wave, Lord Jiang walked off, disappearing into the shadows moments later.
When Arran looked at Jiang Fei, he could see that her eyes were wet with tears. He tried to think of something to say, but no words would come. They stood there for a while, neither of them saying anything.
Finally, he leaned forward, putting his arm around her and pulling her close as he kissed her. The kiss lasted for some moments, and when they parted, Arran could feel his heart racing in his chest.
"We'll meet again," he said.
As he set stepped outside, he briefly felt some sorrow, both for leaving Jiang Fei and for the end of his time at the estate.
He knew that the road ahead was a dangerous one, and that it would be a long time before he would be safe again.
Paragon Of Destruction 46 Saying Goodbye
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Paragon Of Destruction 46 Saying Goodbye summary
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