"Are you a girl?"

With considerable effort, Vaarsuvius opened one eye, and then the other. It didn't help at all in identifying the source of the voice.


The elf tried to focus through the blurred vision, ignoring the insistent throbbing from where the masonry had collided with the back of the elf's skull. A pair of yellow eyes swam into view.

"Mr St-, I mean, O-chul said people should be nice to girls." The monster said, and there was a slight wistfulness about his voice.

"O-chul… you are r-referring to the paladin?"

The monsters eyes look away for a moment. "He was a good friend. He's in a better place now."

"He… he was killed?" Vaarsuvius's eyes clenched shut as the world threatened to black out, and the elf tried to raise a hand to judge to damage the rock had caused. Instead, a shock of pain ran through the elf's arm as the chains attached to the manacles pulled tight. Vaarsuvius stifled a scream.

"No, I sent him to be with his friends!" The monster turned back to the elf, who had pulled one robe sleeve back and was examining an oddly bent forearm. "Are you okay, Mr or Mrs elf?"

"I believe my arm in broken, although in m-my current position that is the l-least of my worries." Still, the elf winced as it settled back against the wall, resting the injured arm across its chest.

"I'm sorry you couldn't escape too. Still, at least Xykon didn't kill you." The eyes seemed to shudder "When he's that angry… it's pretty scary."

There was a long pause, during which Vaarsuvius seemed to have drifted into unconsciousness once more.

"So… are you a girl?"

Vaarsuvius made no response; the only indication that the elf was still alive was a rasping breathing.

"'Cause Tsukiko seemed to think you were a girl. I thought maybe she could tell if you are a girl, 'cause she is one."

The elf in question shivered, and coughed once before being still again. A small amount of fresh blood now flecked its lips.

"Mr or Mrs Elf? Are you okay?" The monster gazed helplessly at the now completely unmoving elf. "I think you're sick. O-chul said you should look after people who are sick, too."

The yellow eyes darted towards to door. Cautiously, a corner of the box lifted.

The unconscious elf made no response even when the box tipped over onto its side with a loud thump, although the now exposed creature froze, watching the door carefully. Then, trying to be quiet despite its size, he moved over to the elf, pausing just out of reach.

"Mr or Mrs Elf?"

When there was no response, the Monster reached forward, and gently touched the elf's face, causing the smaller creature to shiver.

The Monster out of the Darkness looked around helplessly. "Redcloak can heal people, but I think he's busy at the moment. And I dunno if he'd help you, he can be mean sometimes." The Monster absentmindedly stroked the elf's hair, brushing one of its pointed ears. The elf seemed to shiver again, although the movement was accompanied by a small whimper.

"You're shivering. When elves shiver, that means they're cold. And…”

The monster paused a moment, trying to remember something.

"And you can warm people up by hugging them!"

Eagerly, the Monster rested next the elf, slipping a limb around its shoulders and pulling it against his warm body as much as the chains would allow. Vaarsuvius moaned slightly as the broken arm jarred.

"There, It's okay now. You'll be okay."

And it did seem to help. The elf's breathing finally eased; the tenseness left it's shoulders as it went from unconsciousness to properly trancing. The Monster stroked the elf's hair again, catching the ear once more and eliciting the same small sound.

It was several hours later that there were sounds from the corridor outside the door. The Monster reluctantly slipped away from the elf, laying it carefully on the ground.

He pulled the box back up just before the door opened.

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