Hot Coco: Excerpt from Bird of Paradise

Rorschet returned to the sanctuary of his thoughts again. He knew almost everything there was to know about dreams, but he still couldn’t help but feel that maybe both dreams were depicting reality. What if Tangora was the flower? The one tender little thing that didn’t say: “Don’t touch me.”, like she was repulsed by him. No. She said she didn’t want him to die. She let him hold her hand. She wanted to hold his hand. She looked up to him and trusted him to take care of her and not let her fall while they were flying. Then he remembered everyone else. The thorns that had enveloped him in the past. Father. Nina. He was patient with both of them. He sacrificed himself for them. He tried to reach out the first time and all he felt on his palm was a whip of a leather belt. He tried to reach out the second time and felt nothing. Only the cold wind. When his hand had given up and could reach out no more, someone reached out to him and pulled him out of the dark, empty well the world had thrown him in. But there was one other thing to consider. Who was the monster chasing after his dear student in her dreams? - Dad? - she called out to him and placed her little talons onto his lap, unsure what’s wrong with him and why he’s staring blankly out into space. Something snapped him out of it. Something… unpleasant. - What did you just call me? - he looked up at her with disappointment in his eyes. - Oh! I’m sorry! I mean… Sorry, sir. Are you okay, sir? - she corrected herself and sat back down again, staring at the ground to express her shame. - Tangora, listen to me. - he raised his voice in frustration and grabbed hold of her shoulders. Surprised and a bit scared, she looked up at him. - Don’t ever call me that. Do you understand? Don’t think of me as your father. - It slipped, sir. I’m sorry. - she stuttered a bit. - I’m not your father, I’m not your brother and I’m not your master. - he said with anger channeling through him, but then he calmed down, let her go and sighed. - Think of me as your friend. I’m your friend. - Okay… - she nodded, trying to avoid making eye contact with him. - I’m sorry. I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean to say it like that. Please, forgive me. - he asked for her forgiveness and contemplated whether he should hold her to make things better or not. Panic was starting to get to him. Her lips were shaking and her saddened eyes made him feel even worse for speaking to her in such an aggressive tone of voice. Then without a warning, the girl ran into his arms and hugged him. Tears were running down her warm cheeks and he could sense that she was crying because of the sound of her voice. The xarrin was caught off guard and froze for a few moments. - I’m sorry. I didn’t wanna make you angry. Please don’t be mad at me. - she cried. Rorschet gently placed his palms onto her back, feeling the softness of her luxuriant, brown and bronze-colored locks with orange tips decorating them. He thus hugged her back and closed his eyes, not knowing and not wanting to stop smiling. - You did nothing wrong, child. I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that. I’m the one who should be sorry, not you. - he consoled her. - Don’t cry. When you’re upset, I’m upset too. - Okay… - she sniffled and wiped the tears off her face. - I’m sorry… Please don’t be sad. - Can I ask you to promise me one thing? - he pushed her away lightly, but still held her in his arms so that he could face her while he spoke to her. - Yeah…? - she replied with traces of shiny tear drops still covering her innocent, round face. - Keep smiling. You have a beautiful smile. It makes me proud to be able to call myself your mentor when others see what a beautiful smile you have. - the xarrin requested and wiped the rest of the water off her face with his sleeve.

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