It didn't take long for Afentis to open the door. I was half-expecting Rain to stand behind him to hug me on first sight, but she wasn't. It was perhaps late in the evening but wasn't she expecting me? I wasn't disappointed though, not me, not at all.
I giggled to myself. "Good eve, Afentis."
He smiled. "I wondered if it was you." He took a long look at me. "You've grown up a little, I'm surprised to see you changed almost every time I see you after a while, Amy."
I blushed a little. "Thank you?"
He smiled. "Definitely. It's a compliment. I don't often mention this, but a lot of vampires do not develop much beyond their initial character. Their mind has been frozen together with their youth. It's quite a shame actually, as someone who can wander through the ages has a lot to learn."
This was a perfect time to ask it. "Like painting?"
He looked at me with honest surprise, then another smile. "Yes, like painting. Why do you ask?"
I smiled. "I've heard and read stories. Can you teach me?"
He looked up at the sky for a moment. "Maybe, I'll think on it. There's a few reasons why you may not wish to learn it, but that will be come clear later. Shall we go inside?"
I nodded and followed him through the house and into the living room. Rain was there, she looked up with a smile as soon as she saw me enter. Faith wasn't, my thoughts lingered on the possibility that Rain hadn't even met her during her short stay.
"Amy, you're back!" Rain jumped up and hugged me. See? Completely predictable, I thought with a smile.
I smiled. "Yes, and you're safe from the attackers, forever."
She looked up and in her eyes were tears of gratitude and tears of sorrow, all mixed up. She hugged me again, holding me firm this time, like a dear friend. She didn't cry out loud but I could feel her letting go of a lot of pent-up sadness. Afentis just looked at us with a little smile on his lips. He didn't know everything, but he could guess a lot of it.
Rain looked up at me, still holding close. "Amy, can you tell me something?"
She glanced down a moment before looking in my eyes again. "Are you human?"
What could I answer to this? I looked at Afentis for help, but he just looked back at me with 'it's your choice, not mine' in his eyes. I guess I hesitated a little too long, as Rain looked at me in defiance. Two cute eyes to the power of eight... She was winning this one.
I gave in, a little. "Not exactly."
She looked at me curiously. "But?"
I swallowed. "It's a world I don't want to pull you into. Your sister and your parents have been unlucky enough to be caught in this world. But they're not the only ones."
She looked up at me with fear. "Werewolves?"
Despite myself I giggled a little. Of course it wasn't even such a crazy notion. Coming out at night, tearing people apart wildly. She wouldn't have noticed any blood being taken, obviously. If a body is torn to pieces, who can say how much blood should be around.
I rallied my thoughts. "No, not werewolves, but something like that. I don't want you to be part of this world, Rain. You've got a whole life ahead of you, and I wasn't brought in this life by choice either. " A short glance at Afentis. "It was only for my protection, of sorts. But in your case, your protection is no longer needed, the ones who were after your parents did that because of me."
She stepped back and looked at me. "So, will I never see you again?"
I blinked. "Oh, I don't know about that, you probably will."
She smiled. "Promise."
I nodded. "Promise."
I looked around to Afentis. "Has she been a hand full?"
A very un-Afentis-like grin graced his face. "Oh, she's been quite well-behaved. Apparently she liked the gardens the most. But she makes a devious cup of tea, Nuru taught her well."
I smiled. "Oh, that reminds me, when did Nuru go back?"
He shrugged. "Yesterday early evening. Faith told her to go back to Hitori, saying you would need her."
One mystery solved. "And how is Faith doing?"
His smile vanished.