Verse 10:

Suspicion

"Lyria...I think...I need...to...rest for...awhile," panted Kirai, his hand pressed up against his side, pain prominent on his face. Lyria turned around, and sighed quietly.

"Is that broken rib bothering you?" she asked gently. She knelt next to her companion, looking him squarely in the face.

"Yeah..." answered Kirai meekly. Curses...I hate feeling so weak...

"Well, I saw a small inn about a minute ago that we can stay at," said Lyria like a parent who was convincing their child to walk just a little farther in return for some ice cream. "Do you think you can walk that far?"

"Sure," Kirai managed through gritted teeth. Lyria offered her hand, and Kirai gratefully took it. Using Lyria's staff, the two somehow staggered to the door of the inn and into the lobby. With a grunt, Lyria eased Kirai onto a bench so she could ask the innkeeper about some rooms.

Kirai stared up at the inn ceiling, trying to relax. Of course, this is hard to do when it's tiring just to breathe, and Kirai eventually decided to just observe the people around him.

Sitting next to Kirai was a portly gentleman who was dozing rather peacefully, a pair of spectacles resting on an exceptionally prominent nose. His face was rather red, and the lower half of it was dominated by a large, slightly greasy mustache. He wore a crisp, grey suit with the seal of the Regency Council of Elders on the left shoulder, signifying that he was of high rank in the government.

Kirai's gaze shifted to the innkeeper that Lyria was talking with. He looked trustworthy and hard-working; he wore a work apron and his hands were heavily callused. He had a level gaze, and although Kirai couldn't quite catch his words, he had a level, understanding tone that suggested that he knew how to show respect to a customer.

Suddenly, something caught Kirai's eye and he found himself gazing at what appeared to be a fairly young person clad in a deep blue cloak. Kirai couldn't make out any facial features, but he saw the person's hands, which were rather ordinary, save for a tattoo on the back of the right hand. Also, there was a faint glimmer about the individual's belt, as if he/she carried a sword...or perhaps a poisoned dagger...

"Kirai, are you alright?" asked Lyria's voice from what seemed like faraway. Kirai snapped out of his little fantasy world, and saw the weredragon's gentle eyes gazing down at him in concern.

"Yeah," replied Kirai as he slowly got up. With Lyria's help, he staggered up the stairs and into their room. It was simple; two beds, a nightstand and a single window looking out on the streets below.

"We'll just stay here until your broken bone heals enough, alright?"

"Fine. I'd like to stay here a few days, anyway..."

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Several of rest and relaxation nights later, Kirai quietly reclined in his bed, his thoughts swimming sluggishly. Kirai was on the verge of dozing off, but something in the very back of his mind, some unvoiced instinct managed to keep him on the edge of consciousness, his head lost somewhere between the realm of the Waking and the domain of dreams and nightmares, and it was extremely frustrating.

It was then that Kirai heard a tiny scraping noise in the hall, and his body tensed. Slowly, he reached for his sword, ready to slice the intruder to pieces, despite his broken bone...

The door slammed open, revealing an ashen-faced Lyria, her day clothes looking slightly grimy and disheveled.

Kirai nearly leapt out of bed. "What's wrong?"

Lyria's eyes were blank, a solid, unblinking core of green. "Death bringers are here." She breathed, her eyes rolling up to the back of her head as she collapsed on the floor. Kirai was momentarily stunned, but recovered quickly as he rushed forward and gingerly lifted Lyria off the ground. She blinked, her eyes returned to normal, a clueless expression on her face.

"W-What happened?" she asked, bewildered. Before Kirai could explain, an explosion rocked the building, sending them flying.

Author's Note: Yeah, I know that the chapters have been kinda bleh, but not to worry! The next verse shall be totally awesome, I guarantee it. May take me awhile to type it though...