“You seemed to be perfectly fine with it back at school! We snuck out all the time together!”
“That’s just it! It was school. But this is the real world where you have to realize that not everything you dreamed of is going to come true. When are you going to grow u─?”
“It was an meeting for an arranged marriage!” Tarin sputtered, bowing his head.
“You’re my only friend who’s still single,” he grabbed her shoulders, needing her to see things from his perspective, “ and you know my personal views on marriage. Can’t you at least try to understand why I couldn’t bring myself to go?”
Elden’s eyes grew large, startled, almost fearful, which made her look a whole lot more like a girl than the threatening captain persona she always tried to present, but Tarin wasn’t sure what she could be afraid of. He removed his hands anyway, though, muttering, “… I'm sorry.”
“Why didn’t you tell me in the first place?” her voice was more than hurt, but not quite broken, like it had shattered and she was already trying to piece it together again.
“I know I should have,” he scratched his neck, “I just couldn’t bring myself to tell you. I don’t know why, though.”
“Maybe, you were…” she stopped herself.
“I can’t thank you enough for coming with me.”
“Of course I came with you,” she murmured, giving him a wistful, sidelong glance; then she averted her eyes, trying to look anywhere but his direction. “How could I say no to my best friend? Especially when he comes to me with a job that has a refreshing adventure built into it? Ha! It reminds me of the time when we─” Captain Stirling’s tongue turned to stone when an object in the distance caught her eye, and she quickly produced a spyglass tied to her belt.
“What is it?” Tarin questioned, squinting his eyes in attempts to locate the strange object.
She handed the miniature telescope to him, so he could see the silhouette of a black airship. “It appears that we have located what you have lost so much sleep over, my prince. We have found Krono’s Revenge.”