Chapter 5:

Volume 1: Chapter 1: We Met at High School - Part 4

Nephalem


My apartment was not the most pleasant of places. As I walked toward my apartment building, a four-story complex that had become decrepit with age, my nose wrinkled at the not-quite-putrid- but-certainly-not-pleasant scent. Were it not for Alicia’s hair, which smelled of strawberries and worked wonders to overpower the scent of age and rust, I’ve no doubt that it would have been much worse.

I walked up a set of metal stairs, which creaked ominously with every step, making me fear that one of the steps might break under our combined weight. They didn’t, to which I was grateful. I still felt like it had been a near thing.

Walking down the hallway, I glanced at the wall that stood on my left. Age had taken its toll. Cracks spread across the walls and ceiling, mold grew along the bottom of the wall, and stains covered a good portion of every surface, including the metal railing on my right. The doors that I passed were likewise derelict with age and disuse.

This apartment had been abandoned about a month after I moved in. No one wanted to live with me, I suppose. I couldn’t blame them, but at the same time, it left an emptiness in my heart.

Alicia’s legs swung back and forth like a pendulum as I stopped in front of my door. I stared at the doorknob, then at the girl in my arms. I went back to the doorknob. Then I went back to the girl.

How was I going to open the door while I was carrying her? I suppose I could set her down, but this hallway wasn’t the cleanest place around… and she was bleeding. What if her wounds got infected?

It took some work to free up one of my hands, but I eventually managed to open the door, which I soon closed behind me with my foot. Slipping out of my shoes, I walked passed the kitchen, turned down a small hallway with two doors, and entered the door on my left.

This was my bedroom. It was a standard eight tatami mat room. To my left was a closet where I kept supplies and an extra fuuton in case something happened to my bed. There was also a used dresser sitting next to a night stand against the same wall as the closet. There wasn’t much more to it than that. I had nothing decorating my room. Most people would have probably considered it bland, but it was still home–or the closest thing to home I’ve ever known.

I placed Alicia on the bed, a small twin bed with white sheets and a memory foam mattress. It was my one amenity. Fortunately, she wasn’t taller than me. While my legs hung off the bed when I slept, her height was about perfect.

A groan escaped her parted lips. She shifted as if trying to get comfortable. Her wings twitched once before going still. I sat down on one end and looked at the girl, studying her as I tried to figure out the best method of healing.

I couldn’t use my light powers; those were the antithesis of devilkind. That meant I needed to use my powers over darkness. Could darkness even be used to heal someone?

I decided to start by washing her wounds. I went into my kitchen, which wasn’t much larger than four square meters. On one side was a kitchen sink, with cupboards overhead and underneath the counters. The other side had a small fridge and more cabinets. It was small, but I took great pains in keeping it clean so it at least looked nice.

My sock covered feet tried to slide across the wooden tiles. I went up to my kitchen sink and opened the cabinet door above it. Reaching in, I pulled a small box out and set it on the counter. It was a medical box. While I stored most of my medicine in my bathroom, for wounds that required more work and supplies, I kept them locked here.

After checking to make sure all of my supplies were in order, I went into my bedroom and got to work.

The first thing I did was clean the cut on her forehead. Head wounds bleed a lot, and both her hair and face were covered in carnelian liquid, though it was hard to tell thanks to the color of her hair. After wiping the blood away, I sprayed disinfectant to kill any germs, and then I wrapped bandages around her head. There was nothing I could do about her blood-matted hair.

There were other wounds on her arms and legs, small cuts that I cleaned and fixed with simple band aids. However, there were several that I couldn’t fix with just that–namely, the one of her torso. Beneath the shirt, which was nearly destroyed, I could make out the edges of frayed skin covered in blood. It looked like she’d been sliced open with a hacksaw.

Getting Alicia out of her shirt was difficult and embarrassing. My face burned like nobodies business as I pulled her sailor shirt off, revealing that she wore a plain white bra that seemed to be a size too small.

Trying to ignore the sight of Alicia’s chest, I cleaned the blood off of the wound, and then placed two fingers over the gash. Taking a deep breath, I started channeling dark energy into the wound. My only thoughts were on helping promote healing.

I didn’t know if this would work. However, devils were beings of darkness. Even if they had a different affinity, say, for example, an elemental affinity for fire, it didn’t change the fact that all devils had a predisposition for darkness. I was banking on that affinity to help heal this wound.

My relief when I saw the cut slowly close up made my shoulders slump. I stared intently at the gash, watching, waiting. When it was closed and there was nothing left but healthy pink flesh, I cut off my power and stood up.

I was just about to congratulate myself on a job well done when I realized something. Outside of the fact that this girl was now shirtless, her skirt was also completely ruined. I hadn’t been paying much attention because I was busy healing her, but the skirt looks like it had been slashed apart by a knife wielding psychopath. I could see her white cotton panties, which conformed around her crotch and left little to the imagination.

I covered my hands with my face, which felt red enough to use as a stove. I couldn’t leave her like this. At the same time, I didn’t have any women’s clothing.

“I suppose I’ll have to change her into some of my clothes,” I mumbled.

What an embarrassing day.


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