17 The day off

Beth yawned, stretching her arms widely. The early morning sun rays slipped through the holes on the door to her room, landing on her face. She felt energized after the long sleep, but she didn't want to wake up yet. She was too lazy to get up from her futon. She wrapped her blanket around her tightly and rolled around like a rolling pin.

"I should sleep a little bit more." She stated aloud, covering her face with her hand.

That was when she remembered. Beth sat upright with a sudden jolt. Throwing her blanket aside, she stretched her hand to her back, feeling the skin there.

"How is this possible?" She asked, not able to believe her senses.

Was she dreaming? How else was this possible? The flesh on her back had been torn open in multiple spots, thanks to yesterday's whipping session. She had to limp all the way back and had passed out on the floor as soon as she came into her room. But now, not only was she healed completely, but there was not even dried blood on her back. Her skin felt as soft as a baby's. She had no difficulty moving around and had no pain at all. The tears on her dress were mended, and she had woken up in her futon, tucked inside her blanket. Beth pinched her cheeks.

"Ouch!" She exclaimed.

She had pinched a bit too hard. Nonetheless, it was not a dream! Then...Her eyes moved to the one possible suspect who could have made it happen. But strangely, the system was still unresponsive. She tapped on the metal surface again, hoping to get any sign of life at all. But there was none as usual. Was the thing playing with her? Did it always come alive when she was sleeping? She wondered, staring at the inanimate bracelet.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Beth turned towards the direction, hiding her hand under the blanket. Who could it be so early in the morning?

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"I'm coming in." Said a chirpy voice as the door creaked open.

Fifty-eight came in with a concerned look on her face. Her gaze dropped down in guilt as she spotted Beth.

"I'm sorry about yesterday." She said meekly.

Beth covered herself with the blanket. Before she knew what happened to her in her sleep, she couldn't take the risk and parade around completely fine. Faking pain, she moaned, lying back down on the futon.

"It's okay." She whispered, contorting her face in a pitiable act.

Beth put on a strained smile for her, not that she forgave Fifty-eight, but because she wanted the girl out of her room as soon as possible. She didn't mind when the girl hadn't spoken up for her in front of One- that would have been suicide. But Fifty-eight had left her alone unconscious on the cold floor. Though the girl was only a stranger, hadn't they talked at least twice or thrice? Wasn't it common courtesy to help someone in need?

Yesterday's incident had made a lot of things clear to her. On the outside, many people would smile at you and act friendly. This was not because they were kind deep inside, but because they wanted to have a sense of social interaction. She couldn't blame the girl for what she had not done. After all, this was a man eat man world, and Fifty-eight had been so far the nicest person to her in heaven. It was better like that. She wouldn't have to feel guilty one day when she did the same.

Fifty-eight cleared her throat, fidgeting with the hem of her dress. "Three sent me here to tell you that you have the day off." She said awkwardly. Withdrawing a small tin from the folds of her dress, she continued, "She also sent this for you. It will help heal your wounds within hours."

Woah. Now that was one thing she could take. A day of well-deserved rest, and some balm, that she was never going to use. Maybe she'd need it later on. There was no harm in keeping it, she thought to herself, laughing inside. This place wasn't half as bad as she thought it to be.

"Thank you, Fifty-eight," Beth replied, faking a weak nod.

The girl kept the tin beside her futon and looked at her expectantly. Beth looked at the girl cluelessly. What did she want now?

"Is there anything else?" She asked in confusion.

"Umm...if you turn around, I can apply it for you." Fifty-eight said with an awkward smile.

"No!" Beth exclaimed, clutching her blanket tightly.

She was suddenly nervous. There was no way that she could show her back to Fifty-eight. No one should see her state right now. It could bring trouble for her later on. But she had reacted too quickly. Fifty-eight raised her brows, seeing her energy that seemed to have sprung out of thin air.

"Huh?" Fifty-eight said, grabbing the edge of her blanket. "Twenty-three, let me please-"

Beth suddenly thought of an idea. "Aaargh! It pains!" She cried out.

"What?! I-"

"Why, Fifty-eight?! Why did you pull the blanket knowing that I have wounds on my back?" Beth asked, sobbing violently.

The girl looked shocked. She looked down at her own hands and back to Beth. She suddenly looked as if she were about to cry. Beth laughed inside. Her trick was working.

"I didn't mean to Twenty-three. I'm so sorry." Fifty-eight said, her lips quivering with guilt.

"Please, let me sleep now," Beth said, continuing the miserable act. "Aaargh. It hurts-"

Without completing her sentence, she closed her eyes shut, hoping that the girl would understand and leave her alone.

"I-" She heard Fifty-eight stutter.

"Please," Beth whispered weakly.

The girl sighed. She heard the voice of the tin scraping against the floor when Fifty-eight continued, "I'm leaving this here for you. Please put it on when you feel better. One won't tolerate another day of absence."

Beth didn't reply. She kept her eyes closed till she heard the girl's footsteps leave the room, and the door was shut close once again.

"Phew! Now that that's over," She said, getting up from her futon and looking around, "I need to get something to-"

There it was! Why hadn't she noticed it before?! Her mouth watered as she spotted the plate of bread and gravy kept above her cupboard.

"Oh, you sweet little system! I will surely reward you!" She exclaimed, cradling the bracelet to her chest.

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