It had been two weeks before Rin and Bagir-Ra made it back to Vulkhel Guard.
“Aww, someone has been missing another broody someone!” Ragi giggled as her friend’s eyes involuntarily swept across the pit in front of the Mages Guild.
“Huh? No way!”
“This one scans the area the same way, if this one thinks the Khajiit we both know should be there.”
Rin scoffed. “If you’re talking about whom I think you’re talking then consider this: we’ve met two times and the first he called me an insane drunkard, and the next, he questioned my abilities as a hunter.”
“Yet he apologized for both. This one thinks Mister Broody-Pants likes you.”
“Right. Because he apologized.”
“Well, he doesn’t strike this one as someone who is quick to make his apologies.”
* * *
Later when they both bathed, ate and were lounging in their room, Bagir-Ra returned to the topic of Rin’s personal relationships once more.
“Seriously, if you ask this one, you should just go to the Guild, find him and jump him on the spot.” said the Khajiit, carefully trimming her claws with a tiny file.
“Uh-huh, because that’s exactly what you are thinking about doing every time a certain not-so-mysterious-any-more Khajiit operative comes to your mind?”
Bagir-Ra let out a throaty laugh.
“And this one would so do that if only she knew where to find him this very moment!”
“This one would most likely chicken out and start acting like an adolescent kitten giggling and blushing under her fur as this one already did several times when she met him.” Gwilwering laughed back dodging a pillow thrown at her face. “Anyway, I’ve heard that some Eyes are still at the town though the Queen is on her way to Skywatch. Do you feel lucky?”
“You know what? This one does!” Ragi hopped off the bed. “Although she is not sure about jumping him part.” she added pausing at the doorway. “Will you be ok if this one leaves?”
“Don’t let it stop you!” Rin giggled. “And, yes, I’ll be ok. Go, already!”
Rin smiled and shook her head as the door shut behind her friend. What Bagir-Ra said wasn’t that far from being truth. She had thought about the broody Altmer mage. Not that she actually thought about him like that . . . or did she?
Snatching her backpack, she started sorting out the loot gathered during their time at Tanzenwil. When she got to the bottom of it and fished out several books, a slow smile spread over her face. She would go to the Mages Guild to visit Lylianthar, but with a totally different purpose than Ragi suggested.
* * *
He had that dream again last night. Of meeting her once more. Tiny Bosmer with emerald-green eyes and a mischievous smile. She was standing there, one hand at her hip, looking at him and smiling. Always smiling.
Not that he complained about dreaming about her. It was a distraction, but a pleasant distraction indeed, seeing that this saved him from his usual nightmares of his dear parents and their parenting practices.
He remembered the dream–himself coming closer to her than he had ever been, raising his hand to brush a lock of hair from her face, tracing a line from her cheekbone to her lips with his finger-tips–
“So, who is she?” a Breton apprentice winked at him.
“You were clearly daydreaming and you had a face men usually have when they think of a pretty girl. So, who is she? Do I know her? Is it someone from the Guild?”
Lyliantar pursed his lips looking at a young man with disdain.
“Whatever face men usually have is none of my concern. As it is none of yours what I was thinking about. Clearly it wasn’t a girl, and even if it would have been why would you ever assume I’d have any intention of discussing that matter with anyone?”
“Pft… spoilsport!” the Breton snorted. “I swear, Lian, it must be so boring to be you!”
Sneering, Lian gathered his books and left the library.
* * *
“What in Oblivion are you doing here?”
When just a couple of minutes ago he was wondering how it could have happened that there was light coming from under the door of his room, he could have never guessed that he would see a Bosmer girl laying sprawled on his bed and reading a book.
“What are you doing here?” he repeated tensely.
“Oh, hi!” Rin hopped off the bed. “I brought you a book.”
“You brought me a book?” he asked incredulously.
“Mhm, you see, Ragi and I searched those ruins several days ago, and there were some old books lying around. And I thought you’d been reading some Bosmeri legends that day at the tavern, so I guessed maybe you’d like to have this one. It’s pretty rare, as far as I know . . . sorry, I’m babbling!” She suddenly blushed.
“You were –” he stammered. Thinking about me? “You were searching the ruins?
“What? You’ve just plundered the sacred Altmer burial site and then came here to tell me about that?”
“I . . . no! We were not plundering it!” Little Wood elf was furious now. “Why do you always act like I’m some sort of savage? I can’t believe I actually wanted to give you a present!” She shove a book in his hands and headed to the door. “Keep it or throw away, I don’t care!”
“Gwilwering. Wait! I’m sorry.” He sighed. “I am sorry. I had not expected any visitors and I most certainly had not expected to see you . . . sitting on my bed when I entered the room. I haven’t been a paragon of hospitality, have I? Can we start all this anew?”
“Should I go back and lay on your bed again then?”
He realised the girl was smiling.
Bosmer’s smile turned into a grin.
“That is unrequired.”
Lian turned his attention to the book in his hands, and his brows shot up.
“Wardens of the Green? It is rare!”
“How did you know I’d be interested in something like that?” Lian eyed Rin suspiciously.
“Well, as I’ve said, I noticed you were reading some legends–that’s not exactly some sort of a book a mage would read for an arcane research. And I kinda asked around too . . .” she trailed off and smiled sheepishly.
“You asked around?” the mage raised his eyebrow. “Let me guess: Valaste?”
“Right. You know, you are pretty good at guessing games!”
“At least I’m good at something,” he mumbled. “Would you care to keep me company and have some wine?” he asked suddenly.
“Gladly! But not in the tavern!” Rin added hastily, seeing the mage going to the door. “You see, Ragi would tease me to my death–she already does, and if she sees me . . . and you. Dammit, I’m babbling again!”
“Oh,” Lian coughed. “I have some Madeira here, if you won’t mind sweet wine. But in return I’d like to hear what you were doing in Tanzenwil.”
“I won’t mind. But don’t expect all the details, it was a contract, so, you know . . .”
Lian motioned in the direction of the chairs and a small table in the corner. “Make yourself comfortable, I’ll get the glasses.”
* * *
“And then that spirit just raised it’s hands and whoosh! Ragi was flying to the other corner of the chamber!” Rin stood in the middle of the room waving her hands to add some more dramatic effects to the story.
“And I would say you two totally deserved that thrashing! It’s a burial ground after all, and you just strolled there snatching this and that . . .”
“Ah, shut up. You’re no fun, you know that?” Despite the actual words, the girl’s voice was warm and full of mirth. “We came to the agreement after all, with the spirits. So it wasn’t as if we robbed the place blind. Theyallowed us to take the books–they would just rot there sooner or later otherwise.”
“Maybe you’re right.” Lian slightly smiled. He felt relaxed and comfortable talking to this Bosmer ranger about the books and simply listening to the sound of her voice.
“It’s getting late,” Rin sighed. “As much as I enjoy sitting here, I need to go.”
“Right. Sorry for keeping you that long.”
“I didn’t mind, you know!”
“Quite the opposite.” she added reassuringly.
“Good to hear.” Lian smirked. “I wonder . . . would you like to have a proper drink in the tavern sometime?”
“Ok,” Rin waved her hand and smiled. “Good night and sweet dreams then!”
That smile, he thought as the Bosmer slipped out of the room. Exactly that smile.