These pages took a while - work crunch, illness, and Christmas all got in the way.
But I should still be on track. Pavel finds someone very similar to him -
and is momentarily smitten... A little kindness is always appreciated!
Pavel: What’s even CRAZIER is… My mom's guild took some seabitten people out to the ghostwater, and they threw lots of different foods out there for the ghosts, and they watched how they all behaved… And when some Redtiders came by to check things out, the researchers noticed something really weird…
The chalkboard illustrations continue. Three people on a boat, one with a yellow skirt and clipboard, offer fish to an ocean full of ghosts. Where the water is depicted as white the skeletons reach towards the surface in desperation, but where the water is shaded red, the skeletons watch on with curiosity instead of hunger. The girl seems to picture these diagrams as well, tears slowly drying as she considers the circumstances of her bite alongside the information Pavel has to share.
Pavel: Their volunteers said… that the Redtiders. They just watched! Only the normal seaghosts actually ate anything, so… Maybe redtiders aren’t as hungry? And maybe you don’t need to be so scared of them! Maybe that’ll help with your nightmares, at least a little?
Girl: I… um…
Pavel: By the way, your bite is kinda… Nice! It makes you look really mysterious.
Pavel raises his hands to his face and pokes at his cheeks self deprecatingly. Eddy looks on, unimpressed.
Pavel: My bite just makes me look like a big marshmallow. Not very macho.
Girl: Thank you.
The girl lifts her hand to her face and tucks the curtain of white hair behind her ear. A messy white splotch of bleached skin covers almost the entire right side of her face, coming just short of her nose and lips. She looks to Pavel with gratitude and smiles tentatively. Pavel blushes.
Girl: Everyone else has treated me so badly since I was bitten. Everyone except you. Thank you… so much.
Abbess: That’s enough, Mr. Morena. Leave her be.
The Abbess comes up behind Pavel, casting a shadow over him and he startles, having not noticed her walking up.