"Yeah, I think it was a little more than that, though," I reply with a smile, thinking back to the days I spent with her.
"It's good to see you again… I've missed you…" she says quietly. I pick up on her tone that seems like it's filled with sadness. She's blushing. I zoom in on her slightly parted lips and then gulp. My heartbeat is racing, and my lips twitch uncontrollably. I find myself darting my eyes, checking her out from top to bottom. She wears a modest purple tank top pairing with black pants. My eyes pop back up to her chest, which has greatly matured since the last time I saw her.
I turn toward the bar. I don't want to give too warm of a response worrying that she will become attached again, so I say in a voice devoid of emotion, "You too… You've grown a lot since then."
I pick up my stout and then drink some more. In a cheery voice, she remarks, "Not as much as you, though!"
A slight shiver goes down my spine as I wonder what she's referring to. I look between my legs and then find my enraged friend. My face gets hot and then I mutter, "Wh-what…? I'm sure you've grown more than me…"
"What're you talking about? You've grown at least a few inches taller…and I've only grown a little…" she informs while gesturing her hands in front of her, indicating our height difference.
"Oh…that's what you meant…" I mutter to myself. She cocks an eyebrow.
"What did you think I meant…?" I don't answer and just take more sips of my drink. Her face turns red after a few seconds. Suddenly, she giggles. She looks at me and exclaims, "That part of you hasn't changed at all, Kai!"
She smiles. I force a smile and then apologize, "Well, sorry for being a guy… By the way, should you really be going around without your equipment?"
"I didn't think there would be any danger around town. Besides, Ruby can care take of anything if something happens!" she claims confidently. Afterward, we take more gulps of our beverages. While I'm drinking, the ceiling makes a small noise. I look above, finding the lantern that's attached to the ceiling swinging around a little. I tilt my head down and then shake my head and sigh.
"Kai…" Marin says quietly, hesitating to continue. I know what she wants to relay based on her facial expression that I've seen before. "Have you thought about…visiting—"
"Stop it," I cut her off in a stern tone. "Don't talk about her anymore; she's dead."
She makes a small sound before she exclaims, "Oh, that's right! How goes your search for Emdos? Did you find any new clues?"
I sense sincerity in her voice as if she really wants to know the answer to that question. I frown, feeling bad about lying to her more, but at the same time, I don't want to disappoint her. Moans and grunts resound from above. The ceiling shakes violently. My mind focuses on the sound and tremors, feeling like they grow louder by the second.
"Yeah I think I found a lead, here in Byzia. Some blacksmith mentioned about seeing someone that matches his description a couple of months back. I'm still looking around for more clues before I leave, though," I say with a firm tone, trying to divert my attention from the distracting noises upstairs.
"That's good to hear…that you're making progress on your goals…" she says with a gradual emerging smile. I smile too, feeling some warmth stirring inside me.
She sips her beer for several seconds before I ask, "So, what's the Drosera army doing here in Xantho? You're here with Ruby and Jetia, right?
Marin's expression doesn't change as she continues to take sips from her drink. Several seconds pass before she puts it down and faces me. She darts her eyes around, restlessly moves her fingers with her fingers clasped, and says "Well… I don't know if I should tell you since you're not a part of us anymore…"
With a serious facial expression,
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