Aria sighed gratefully. "Thanks."
Shard looked at her, a tad confused. "They were after you?"
"How do you think Evie found me? Those guys were chasing me," Aria answered, and, strangely enough, was smiling. "They shot me with an arrow, I fell down the cliff and practically broke all of my bones, and nearly drowned in the river... but I'm fine."
Ray stared at her. "You've had quite the day."
"Well, they can't all be nice, now can they?" Aria asked sweetly. "Well, anyway, I'd say it's time for us to turn in." She pointed at the now orange and red sky as she said this.
Shard shrugged. "Sounds fine to me. I'll get some firewood, and I think Ray's the best suited to hunt for food."
"Wait! I can take care of that!" Aria responded, not wanting to feel like she was being watched over like a little kid. That was when Evie grabbed her arm and pulled her down.
"No you won't. You'll be playing with me." Evie stated. Aria blinked at her, and for a moment, the memories of her dear brother Alastor flooded back into her mind.
"Alright... if it will make you happy."
They had a decent meal, and she enjoyed the company that she now found herself surrounded with, much different from her bandit family. Still, she pined for solitude, and Evie simply wouldn't let her go until she was sound asleep, along with everyone else. So she tiptoed her way out of the camp and sat beside the river, thinking to herself.
Aria squinted... was it just her, or was there someone on the opposite shore? Not a mercenary... he was dressed in a black cloak and had white hair like hers... and she swore that twin white eyes stared back at her.
"Evening." A voice spoke to her from behind, causing her to jump up and draw her sword in surprise. The person facing her had olive tan skin and short black hair, and he stared back into her enchanting white irises with his silver ones.
"Um... hello." Aria answered, somewhat shyly. "So, uh... may I ask your name?"
The man merely nodded, but didn't answer. Aria sighed. "Um... so, will you tell me your name?"
He shook his head. She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Is there any reason why you won't tell me?"
"None save for my own." Was the response. Aria turned away to look at the riverbank, and saw that the black cloaked stranger had vanished. She shrugged, and decided to continue walking.
"You harbor a deep sorrow in your heart, don't you?" The man asked. Aria suddenly became rigid. "I watched you fight... you made no effort to kill your assailants... why?"
"I... simply don't want to shed blood. That's all." She replied.
"Trying to distance yourself from who you used to be?"
"Be careful what you ask about, sir. You are touching upon a wound that has yet to heal." Aria seethed, putting her hand on her sword's pommel.
"You would make others happy while denying yourself happiness?"
"I... just want to see people smile. What's wrong with that?" Aria asked.
"It's a beautiful dream... but one filled with naivete."
"What do you know? Stealing happiness doesn't work... it only breeds pain, and that pain comes back to hurt you... so if I spread cheer, then shouldn't the only thing to come my way should be happiness?" Aria asked.
"There are those who would take advantage of that... and it will only lead to pain worse than what you have already felt."
"How do you know?" Aria finally stated, in a voice that could make anyone feel sorry for her. It was as if she knew the path she traveled wouldn't be an easy one, but she intended to see it to the end. And perhaps that was what the stranger saw in her. He resigned himself and walked away.
"Hey! Get back here... you!" She threatened. He simply smiled and shook his head.
"We'll meet again." And with that, he ran off. Aria just stood there and fumed.
"Tch. Like he knows what he's talking about."