I thought a lot about this one, followed through several scenarios, but I think this is the one nobody expected.
He slowly raised his free hand and little flames started to burn on the many candles' wicks around the library. I saw the disappointment in his eyes and immedately I felt… guilty. When did I last feel this way? I don't remember? When I took the books from the Guild, I felt fine. And after that I've been snitching this and that from the stores. An apple here, a hairpin there. Noone ever noticed. It was fine and I didn't feel bad about those.
I'd do it again.
But seeing him, my Master, actually hurt? It hurts me too! By Lor! What am I doing?! I could have asked him, trusted him to one day show me himself what he was hiding in this protected room. He of all people would have! He trusted me enough to tell me his secrets.
We… we are friends and yet I always do these stupid things…
Master Zargeth sighed. "Oh, Kyriel…" He removed his staff (or rather halberd?) from the door.
"I'm sorry!" I screamed. "I'm sorry!" I dropped to the floor and sobbed, repeating my apology over and over.
It felt like an eternity had passed before I regained enough selfawareness to stop my own wailing. I'd nearly forgotten what I'd been sad about or where I was. Confused I peeked past my fingers. My eyes burning and swollen.
Some of the candles had burned down already. Probably those which had only been little stumps in first place. The room was silent, but there, leaning against a bookshelf next to me, sat my Master. Sleeping. Waiting for me to get better? I nearly started crying all over again.
How do you wake your sleeping elder? He looked so comfortable. I wonder, would he have… let… let me cry on his shoulder had I asked?
Carefully and silently I crawled over and closed my eyes. Then softly put my forehead against his shoulder. It was warm and comforting. So this was what a shoulder-to-cry-on felt like…
Suddenly a single, but incredibly loud, snore made my heart jump to the ceiling, pulling me along. I didn't quite reach the ceiling and just sprung to my feet, though. The Master yawned and looked around. Had he said something this moment, I would not have heared it, that's how loud my heart was beating. That was close!
Master Zargeth looked at me, rubbing the back of his nose. "I guess I don't need to tell you anymore." With creaking bones and a silent curse he pulled himself back to his feet. "Let's just go to bed now, alright?"
"You said already."
"Yes, but… I wanted to help you, I wanted to find out more and help you turn back to your real self… and… and… I shouldn't have tried to get in there. I'm sorry."
"Thanks." I felt a spell being lifted from me. Not a real spell, but the guilt I'd drawn to myself. "I don't want to stay like this forever, just so you know. You are talented and maybe you really can help me, but you're still just a novice and it's 4 in the morning. Have patience."
Patience. My nemesis. I cringed.
Obediently I followed him to the stairs and wished him a good remaining night, before we parted ways. He went upstairs, I downstairs.
That's when I first remembered the rain and storm outside. It was calming in its own way. The distance to reality grew smaller and I felt more… grounded? How peculiar.
In that very moment a lightning flashed and thunder growled so loudly my ears rang. Frightened to death I jumped down the remaining steps and decided to sleep in the lab tonight.