Tessa’s sleep was interrupted by the noise of the preparing to departure mercenaries’ group. As soon as she opened her eyes, she felt a strange scent hanging in the air. The scent seemed slightly familiar to her, and within few moments she remembered the previous night. Upon hugging herself, she moaned pitifully and tried to understand everything happening in her head.
Only after a couple of minutes, she came back to her senses and noticed several white marks on her sleeping bag. This made her even anger. Tessa’s completely naked body, by the way, was completely clean; laws of the world also affected its inhabitants.
Upon dressing up and correcting her slightly messed up hair, Tessa gently pushed entry wall of her tent and walked outside. At this moment, several pairs of curious eyes stared at her, forcing her hand to slightly tremble. With all her might Tessa suppressed the desire to hide back; the reason for such an interest was obvious to her. Having taken a deep breath, she made a confident expression and went further.
At the same moment, she heard a familiar voice to her left, “Good morning.”
Slowly turning her head and looking into the emerald eyes, Tessa involuntarily squeezed her hips. Then she immediately turned away and froze for a while, trying to stabilize her thoughts.
After standing in the same spot for several seconds, she simply walked by Rey, who looked at her with a smirk on his face. After their collaborative night, he did not help Tessa with her “injuries”. And the result of this was quite clear.
“Wait a minute,” he said towards the walking away girl.
Her head was lowered, because she simply could not look into eyes of the members of her squad, no matter how hard she tried. Upon hearing Rey's words, she wanted to ignore him at first, but did not dare to do so.
“Need something?” Tessa asked, turning her head to him.
“Actually yes. You promised to teach me your language. Or maybe you don’t want to fulfill this promise?”
His words were like a heavy strike to her heart, and it could not be any worse.
“Later,” she gave a reply and continued to walk to the tigress lying nearby.
Rey was seemingly satisfied with this answer, so he instantly walked away.
Having sat before the tigress, Tessa gently stroked her fur, listening to the soft purring of her pet.
To her surprise, she did not remember how exactly the night ended. The last thing she could remember made her cheeks blush and that is all. There was only darkness further.
‘Did I really lost consciousness…’ her thought was interrupted by the displeased growl of the tigress, whose fur was pulled strongly.
Tessa lowered her head and apologized to the pet, continuing to gently stroke her. At that moment, the tigress licked Tessa’s face and put her face into Tessa’s chest. This gesture slightly cheered her up, so she hugged the tigress’ head.
Upon sorting her thoughts, Tessa decided that it was worth clarifying everything that had happened to the rest of the group. She understood that even if most of the camp did not immediately guessed the reason for Rey’s staying in her tent, then the sounds coming from there during the night made everything pretty clear. Therefore, when the group was ready to leave, she took her place in their formation and spoke loudly enough, so that all the mercenaries could hear her.
“I lost. His bet was the panther, and mine…” Tessa’s voice trembled, and she failed to end her speech quickly.
At that moment, her second deputy took action, because the first one still had not recovered after the duel.
“He’d already told us. Though I don’t really understand Farosian, I caught the main idea. He said something like ‘Your leader is a good leader. She kept her word.’”
Upon hearing her deputy, Tessa froze for a moment. She did not understand why Rey did this, but she was a little grateful to him. At the same moment, she noticed appearance of a huge shadow covering part of the space before her eyes. Quickly turning her head, she saw Cess. The panther moved so quietly that she could not even hear his approach. There could be seen a huge saddle on the panther’s back now. Although this detail partly ruined the panther’s impressive look, the rider now felt himself much better.
However, he still spoke to her, “We can move. We’ll practice shooting, when the group will make a stop.”
Rey involuntarily noticed that the most of the mercenaries now stayed even further away from him. If earlier everyone here was afraid only of Cess, now he also seemed like a threat to them, since they did not consider him as a true part of their group.
Without knowing what to answer, Tessa accidentally exposed her previous thoughts, “Thanks. For what you told the rest.”
“It’s nothing. You can always thank me during night.”
Upon hearing his words, some of the mercenaries, who probably knew a bit about his language, looked at him in a strange way. Rey calmly looked at the girl and answered the question appeared in her eyes, “Yesterday you went to rest too early.”
Tessa's face became crimson, and she instantly lowered her head.
Rey noticed that she was not going to answer and decided to change topic, “Your language. Focus, there are only few days left.”
Gritting her teeth, Tessa started to explain.
This language turned out to be slightly more complicated than Farosian. There were many consonants, so every word sounded a bit weird. Rey probably simply did not get used to it, so he continued to carefully listen to Tessa, who taught him without much enthusiasm.
However, situation with Rey was quite opposite; he was in a good mood for some reason. Even though the night slightly differed from his expectations, he still was able to let off some steam. Even the surrounding plain seemed to be brighter and livelier now. The only thing that ruined such a beautiful day was Tessa's disgruntled face. However, as soon as their eyes crossed, she immediately turned away.
Rey was quite a straight person, so he immediately asked, “Are you going to continue to act childish? Just tell me already what's the matter.”
She only rolled her eyes in response. Upon looking around, she made sure that no one could hear them because of the noise of the moving group.
“How even dare you to say that!? You... you forcefully took me! And now, as if nothing happened, you force me to teach you. Moreover, you are saying that you want to do this with me again. How do you think I should react?”
After listening to her, Rey had to admit that there was some truth in her words. However, she was only partly right.
“I just made you fulfill your part of the deal. And it’s the same with you helping me to learn your language. Why are you so worried? I thought you liked it too.”
Tessa really could not understand how a person can so thick-skinned. But the worst thing was that his words made her red. Tessa did not say anything else and turned away. She simply stopped paying attention to him.
However, Rey was an extremely direct person, so he did not care about Tessa's obvious unwillingness to continue their conversation.
“Maybe you have someone in your heart? Why are you so dissatisfied?”
Tessa originally thought that he would stop talking, so this question was a surprise to her.
“It’s none of your business. One more word about it, and you’ll have to look for another teacher.”
Upon deciding to leave this conversation for later, he continued to listen to her explanations.