With a flashy combo, Aether finished off the Mitachurl who sank to the floor, dissipating in a burst of red sparks.
“Nice one!” Paimon chirped, as she marked the commission off their list. That was three done; now only one more to go before they could go collect their reward. She did a little twirl in the air as she followed Aether around, who collected the drops from the rest of the camp. Commissions were part of their daily routine, but they were just so boring, you know? Paimon stifled a yawn as she followed Aether around as he cleared the area, picking up flowers, apples, and other assorted materials.
“What’s next?” Aether asked after he filled his pockets.
“Well,” Paimon said as she checked the list of quests they had accumulated. “We still have one more commission to finish before we can head back to the Guild. But, Paimon thinks that along the way we should pick up some Qingxin flowers so we can finish that request from Granny Ruoxin. Oh! And when we get back to the city, we should also go pay a visit to Childe for your weekly spars.”
Aether nodded. “Ok, direct me?”
Paimon quickly glanced at the map before pointing north. “No need to teleport!” She told him. “It’s close by; it’s a camp of treasure hoarders.”
Aether took off at a run and Paimon followed him, leisurely floating in his wake. The sight of the two of them traversing the map like this were normal; the traveler always led the way while Paimon lazily floated above him, no matter if he was exploring or engaged in battle. Paimon just thought that doing all of that seemed like so much effort! It’s good that Paimon can float. Everytime they traveled from place to place, Paimon always saw how Aether had to take breaks, watching as his stamina bar dropped into the red; it was obvious that running was a lot of hard work, the struggle of people without Paimon’s ability.
They stopped at the top of a cliff where Aether took a little break, waiting to catch his breath before gliding down to the treasure hoarder camp.
Paimon pouted and stomped her feet. “Let’s go! Let’s go!” She insisted. “Paimon wants to get back and eat grilled fish!”
Aether let out a breathless laugh. “Race you then?” He didn’t wait for Paimon’s response as he sprinted towards the cliff, jumping up to glide.
“No fair!” Paimon shouted. “Wait up for m-“she finished right as she saw Aether plummet down the side of the cliff.
“AETHER!” Paimon screeched. There was a flash of gold, the end of his braid and then he was gone. No wings extended, no air to catch him. Just the whistling of the wind through the Aether-less grass at the top of the cliff with Paimon, all alone.
She was so shocked that she fell to the floor, knees colliding with the dirt.
If she had been closer, would she have seen? Seen how his stamina bar had been completely depleted and seen his expression of shock right before he fell to his death? A drop of water splattered on the dirt, and then another. Maybe if Paimon didn’t float so far behind, she would have saw that, maybe she would have been able to catch him. She was a fool, A FOOL, a fool. Too selfish, too impatient; what’s the point of having eyes if she couldn’t see?
Where was the benefit in floating if she couldn’t save Aether when he falls?
She wailed and buried her face in her hands. And in the depths of her sorrow, she did not hear someone walk through the grass towards her until she felt a hand pat her shoulder.
Turning around, she was so shocked that she started bawling again.
“It’s ok, Paimon,” Aether said, standing behind her. “I respawned.”