That extremely loud word exploded from a vertically challenged man, with a puffy red face and a pot belly. Lila winced and shook her head. She had expected this reaction from her father but she didn't expect it to be so...loud.
" YOU MEAN TO SAY THAT DEVIL WAS IN MY INN!!!"
"Umm...no. Actually I meant to say that he is in your inn now." Lila's voice was calm and controlled with just a tinge of nervousness in it. Her father could fly into extremely violent tempers at times. He would start throwing things around but he would always apologise afterwards.
"WELL, HE'S NOT STAYING ANOTHER MINUTE LONGER!!"
"Dad, please...keep your voice down, there are customers outside. And besides, he might hear you." Lila was getting a little more nervous, but she still kept up a cool front. Doing any less would further agitate her father and she didn't want that to happen.
"I DON'T CARE!!" he bellowed. His face was getting redder with rage. "I'M GOING TO GIVE HIM A PIECE OF MY MIND RIGHT NOW!!!
"Dad...no!!" She dropped the cool front but it was too late. Her father was already dashing up the stairs to throw the stranger out.
"Go after him quick!! The devil could hurt your father!!"
Lila nodded and bolted out. She wondered why she felt so disturbed that the cook had called the stranger a devil and why she felt more concerned for the stranger than for her father.
When she reached the top of the stairs, her father was already pounding on the stranger's door. A confrontation was now inevitable.
The door opened. She held her breath. The stranger stood in the doorway, dressed in exactly the same way as he had been when he rescued her. In black.
" Yah?" His voiced dripped icicles, sending a chill down Lila's spine. He affixed those eyes of his onto her father. There was a cold hard look in them.
After a what seemed like an eternity to her, her father suddenly looked down.
"Umm...I..I j-just wanted to see if you w-were comfortable."
The stranger smiled icily.
"I-I g-guess I'll be going now."
The smile never left his face but it never reached his eyes either.
Lila crept up the stairs. She didn't want anyone to know what she was doing and where she was heading. She was still trying to recover from the afternoon's events. In her whole life, she had never seen her father back down to anyone before...until today. Her father had seen something in those eyes that frightened him, but he refused to tell her what. He had just forbade her to go to the stranger's room.
She froze when the steps protested but the inn was silent. Not even the occasional howl of some strange animal was heard. Not even the scurrying of rats. It was uncanny. Shrugging, she hurried up the steps. She wanted to know more about the stranger.
Upon reaching his door, she stopped. She could either turn back now and avoid him whenever she saw him or she could knock on his door. She counted to ten. Took a deep breath and knocked. The door swung open instantly. His eyes were wild and had a predatory look in them. She gasped and stepped back.
They stood there silently, staring at each other, one with the look of a frightened rabbit and another with wary eyes. Finally Lila broke the silence.
"I..umm...wanted to apologise about wha...oh my..." The side of his shirt was ripped and soaked with blood. There was a deep ugly gash at his side.
"Let me fix that." Wordlessly he stepped aside and let her into his room which was softly aglow with lighted candles.
The door shut slowly behind them.