Nights in the forest were different to nights in the town. The merciless cold penetrated through my thick cloak. The freezing air always reeked of blood from dead humans.
I felt as though I travelled back to when I first arrived the North. Veirya would sit at the table in silence at night. It’d be deathly freezing upstairs, where only Leah and I were. The corridor would be dead silent. I found the same feeling akin to death again.
Sitting on a rock, I gazed at the moon. My home was nearby, but the elven forest seemed was a long bridge that I couldn’t reach the other side of. Lucia was the key to everything and the key to everything I wanted.
My mind began to wonder: “What exactly do I have to do? Also, what’s going on at home now? What are Leah and Veirya up to now? How are the wounded soldiers? Will they cause trouble due to their condition? Leah is just a kid; will she get scared at night after seeing corpses and blood? If she has nightmares, who will she hold onto at night? She’ll have to bear through a terrifying, slow and long night to calm herself.”
I wanted to go home as soon as possible. I had to find Queen Sisi and bring her back with me. Else, everything I sacrificed would be in vain. I needed a plan of attack. Up until then, no elf had mentioned Queen Sisi’s whereabouts. I hadn’t seen the human prisoners, either. Their locations were a touchy topic. I bet I wouldn’t have myself a pleasant ending if I went and asked them straight up. If I sat on my laurels, I’d be wasting an entire week. I was wasting a night already if nothing else.
As I pondered to myself, Lucia sat down next to me. She wasn’t dressed in her engagement dress anymore. She changed back into her form-fitting clothes and leather armour. She turned her head away when she noticed my gaze on her. She awkwardly pursed her lips and raised the corners: “Sorry, I felt the clothes from before were slightly too troublesome to move about in… so I got changed…”
“It’s fine. You’re cute to begin with.”
I gently pulled Lucia into my embrace. She rested on me and clasped my hand. She quietly lamented, “I never imagined we’re about to be married when we were just good friends yesterday. We’ll be living together henceforward. When I think about it now, I don’t know you at all. All I know is that you’re smart and brave, but that’s all.”
“So, what do you need to know, Lucia? Haha, I’m right here, Lucia. You can ask anything. I’ll honestly answer all of your questions.”
“In that case, I want to ask…”
I noticed Lucia wasn’t affectionately holding my hand. She was merely preventing me from escaping. Lucia didn’t come over to enjoy the night with me but to interrogate me. Voice soft, she finished, “Your true purpose in coming here.”
I knew Lucia asked me the question on her own accord; therefore, I wasn’t worried. I noticed Lucia’s fingers gently resting on my wrist. She was checking my pulse. When those who don’t often lie do tell a lie while nervous, their heart rate would pick up. In effect, Lucia was checking my pulse to see if I was lying. The method would work on others but not me. I had practically never told any truths. I was never afraid to lie; it was in my blood. I was a liar, and it was my means of survival.
I looked straight into Lucia’s eyes and sincerely addressed, “Lucia, look into my eyes. You know whether or not I’m lying. Lucia, I love you. I can tell you that countless times. I can look into your eyes countless times. Lucia, do you think I’m lying?”
Lucia looked into my eyes earnestly. Her finger on my wrist pulsated as my heart beat. She examined me and my love. She didn’t say a word; similarly, I didn’t say anything else. The argent streaks of moonlight between us froze as if our tension influenced it. Neither of us spoke, but she gently removed her finger from my wrist. Next, she ran her hand up my arm.
“So, she believes me?” I wondered.
“I will… be a good wife and a good mother. I’ll learn everything I haven’t learnt before. I’m willing to be your wife and spend my whole life with you. I can understand your feelings, my beloved Travor. You do truly love me, so I will love you wholeheartedly, as well.”
I realised that my eyes contained so much affection for the first time. I doubted I ever looked at the woman I truly loved with the same gaze before, sadly.
I gently hugged Lucia but oddly felt cold. I needed to hug her for that was the only way for me to hide the look on my face. Perhaps I used up all of my energy before for her test and, consequently, felt too spent to reveal a gentle expression again.
Leaning on Lucia, I went through my thoughts: “How many people have I hurt this time? Every step I advance, I hurt Lucia again. How can I avoid hurting her in the end? Lucia is innocent. She never did anything wrong, but ended up being tricked by me. I married a totally innocent woman because a woman left the woman I love.”
I knew I did plenty of things considered wrong. Nevertheless, sometimes, what people need isn’t an almighty main protagonist, but a villain who won’t hesitate to commit any sin, like me, to resolve everything.
The ice-cold moonlight and air plaguing me was replaced with the warm girl in my arms. Lucia gently leaned onto me and lightly wrapped her arms around me.
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