Fairytale for the lonely heart, Chapter 86 The interrogation

Castor was lead to a dimly to a room filled with soldiers and instructed to sit on an uncomfortable stool. A middle aged solider holding a book and pen sat on a chair in front of him and slowly opened up his book. Castor noticed the other soldiers glancing at him from the side of their eyes. The older soldier had several medals pinned on the breast of his uniform. Castor was unfamiliar with ranks in the Saxon army but suspected he must be a Colonel or have some other equivalent rank. The soldier cleared his throat to get Castors attention.

“So-”

“So?” replied Castor.

“What is your name?”

“Castor.”

“Full name.”

“Oh right…. Castor Atsu Al-Malik,”

“That’s quite a name.”

“Yes- they are all from different countries.”

“Where are you from?”

“Pyropolis, Apophis.”

“Sorry- what?”

“Er…Pyropolis is the city and Apophis is the country.”

“You’re far from home is see.”

“Yes.”

“What are you doing here? In this country?”

“Traveling.”

“For what reason are you traveling?”

“Can’t one just travel for traveling sake and to see the world?” replied Castor with an awkward laugh.

“One can, but I feel like that is not your reason for traveling.”

“Um… well I don’t know if you will believe me even if I tell you the truth.”

“Does this truth have anything to do with the brawl you got into earlier.”

“Yes…actually-”

“Then the truth.”

“Well… I am a prince,”

“Is that so?” remarked the soldier making notes in his book. Castor was agitated with the hint of sarcasm the soldier spoke with.

“Yes. So the fortune teller claimed that I should be the next king and not my older brother. This was very upsetting to my father so he sent me on a “quest” to get a rose in bloom from his country. However..er… that was a ruse to… uh… have me killed to get me out of the way. So right before we reached the land I jumped out of the boat and swam to land. Then we walked through an obviously haunted swamp, climbed a mountain and got a rose branch. Rode with a group of caravan for over a week during which the caravans where attacked by bandits who I fought. I stopped them but they left with a broken rib. Then we arrived here to get a boat to take us back Pyropolis but them got ambushed by Pyropolis soldier who, I assume were ordered by my father to kill me.”

“Who is we?”

“Sorry?”

“You said ‘we’, who is your travel companion.”

“I…er… don’t have one. I just misspoke.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes…?”

“The other men had your brawl with, who stabbed you- we let them go.”

“Why?”

“Well, for fighting in public it is only a four crown fine and they paid their fine and left.”

“If I pay the fine will you let me go as well?”

“Under normal circumstances I would but-”

“But?”

“Unlike them this is not the first time you got in trouble. A few weeks ago we received a report from a village not to far from here about a foreigner with a magic knife who threatened to attack them, resisted arrest. This man was your approximate height and approximate skin tone.”

“Oh no.”

“Oh yes. Once is an accident twice is criminal offence.”

“But that time I did not even do anything. They just assumed that I was a thief and a smuggler because I am a foreigner.”

“Well it was suspicious. You were traveling with a lot of money and very expensive decadent knife. A well-to-do man, like you claim to be would not be traveling alone. You had neither guards or entourage.”

“I did have guards but they were conspiring to kill me.”

“So you claim…”

“I claim nothing! It’s the truth!” cried Castor in frustration. Silence followed his outburst and all the soldiers in the room stared at Castor.

“Yes. Well, we unfortunately cannot simply take your word for it.”

“How am I supposed to prove myself?”

“Um.. yes. Do you want to know what I think?”

“What do you think?”

“I think you are lying.”

“Lying about what?”

“Everything. You story about being a condemned prince is fine and all for a fairytale but things like that don’t really happen. I think that you are a thief. I think you were traveling with you rich master who you killed and robbed. The money you carry and the knife you wield were both stolen from him. I think the men who attack you, are your old masters guards trying to catch their master’s killer.”

“Why? What in the wide world makes you think that is more logical than what I said.”

“Well, that is what the Apophis soldiers said and unlike you they have their identification and paper in order. So, Castor- what is the truth?”

“What I said is the truth! I am the prince! They were trying to kill me!”

The old soldier sighed, “Son, I cannot help you if you do not tell the truth.”

“I am telling the truth.”

The old soldier turned and called a younger soldier to take Castor back to his cell.

“Wait!” shouted Castor as he was being pulled up from the stool. “What is going to happen to me now?”

“Since you have two incidents you will be presented before  judge who will decide what to do with you. The Apophis soldiers wanted you to be given to their custody and I would recommend that the judge when you see them.

“If you do that they are going to kill me!” shouted Castor as he was being pulled out of the room.

A loud crashing sound from outside reverberated. Everyone was quiet, even Castor. Everyone turned to look at the door. Another loud thudding sound was heard. Shouting of loud but unclear voice followed. Two of the soldiers got up and went to find out what the commotion was. More shouting of more voices.

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Fairytale for the Lonely Heart, Chapter 84 Caged

The Saxon soldiers roughly grabbed Castor but the arm and dragged him to a crumbling stone building along with the other three Pyropolis soldiers. Thankfully they were placed in separate cells however all his possessions, including his knife and all his money was confiscated. The cell his was placed in was a small room with a iron door and a tiny window with iron bars. It was dark, damp and over all very unpleasant. He sat on the lone bench in the room and let himself wallow in self-pity. He ignored the pain of his injuries and let them bleed and wondered if bleeding to death would be simpler. After being left alone for what felt like an hour a Saxon soldier unlocked the heavy door and entered the room followed by a short old man. The old man opened his large bag full all kinds of bandages and bottles.

“Take of you shirt,” instructed the man.

Castor who had this point had pretty much given up on everything slowly took of his shirt unfazed by his bleeding wounds or fractured ribs. He felt numb, everything felt numb. He had lost everything, he felt hopeless. Anneli was gone now, taking the rose with him. His money and knife was taken away and Castor had very little expectation of getting it back. After Castor disrobed the old man cleaned his wounds with water and alcohol and stitched up the stab wound in his abdomen. The stab wound in his back was not as deep so the old man simply dressed it with iodide and a gauze after cleaning it.

“This bruise?” asked the old man.

“That is from before, I cracked a rib.”

“Do you get into fight often?” chuckled the old man.

“Admittedly, far more than I liked.”

“You speak Saxon very well.”

“Thank you.”

The soldier standing at the edge of the room coughed, suggesting the old man be faster and to stop chatting.

“Sorry, I must go treat the others.” The old man nodded his head and repacked his bag.

“Thank you,” said Castor politely. The soldier and the old man left the cell, locking the door behind him. Castor re-wore his torn and blood soaked shirt but did not bother to button it up. Before a he could once again sink into sadness a small voice came from the window.

“Castor,” said a soft whispering voice. Castor turned and saw Anneli’s face pressed against the bars of the window.

“Anneli!” Castor’s heart tried to leap out of his chest, his chest filled with butterflies and he could once again see in color.

“Anneli! What are you doing here?”

“I followed you here. Are you alright?”

“More or less.How are you doing Anneli?”

“I’m fine. The rose plant id also fine. I did not let go of it!” said Anneli proudly but Castor could not care less about the plant right now. “What are you going to do now Castor?”

“I don’t know, but I will figure it out. You should just focus on staying safe until then.”

“What about your knife?”

“They took it away but I don’t think I can fight my way out of this situation. It will just make things worse. I will try and talk to them and hope they listen to me.”

“Will that work?”

“Hopefully.”

“What about the other men who attacked you?”

“Some of them got caught as well and some get away. They are probably going to tell the Saxon soldiers that I am a criminal and try to get me executed. Oh- don’t make that face Anneli.”

Castor’s heart ached seeing Anneli’s sad eyes. “I’ll be fine Anneli.” Castor stroked Anneli through the iron bars.

“What should I do?” asked Anneli. Castor had no words, he could neither think nor speak words at this moment. A part of him wanted to cry but that would upset Anneli. A part of him wanted to use his lightning and turn the whole building to ash but would not solve anything. A part of him want to shout and punch and make a fuss but he knew he should not. He looked at Anneli who was as desperate to save Castor as he had tried so long ago the last time he had gotten caught. Castor knew if he misspoke Anneli might try and break him out even if in reality could do nothing.

“I will be fine Anneli, just try to stay safe.”

The sound of the iron door unlocking echoed through the small room.

“Go now Anneli!” whispered Castor.

“But Castor-”

“Go now!”

The door swung open. “Who are you talking to?” demanded the Saxon soldier in a loud booming voice.

“No one, I was just talking to myself.”

Chapter 78 the sea

Annli silently followed Castor.

Shhhhshaaa shhhhhshaa shhhhshaaa

The rhymic sound of splashing Anneli had heard since he arrived in the walled city was  getting louder and louder. The sound of gulls was becoming more audible and the air saltier.

“This is probably the port,” said Castor pointing to the distance. Anneli looked and saw a gigantic lake covered by all manner of strange vessels.”

“What are those?” asked Anneli.

“Those are ships and boats,”

“Are we going on one of them to cross the sea,”

“Hopefully,” replied Castor with a pang of disapointment in his voice.

Shhhhshaaa shhhhshaaa shhhshaaa shhhhshaaa

The sound grew louded. Anneli and Castor walked along the docks passing all manner of strange boats in various shapes and sizes. They came to the edge of the docks and Castor helped Anneli down the ladder to the beach. As his feet touched the ground he felt the strangest sensation of grainy bits of rock engulfing his feet. He lifted his leg but the sand stuck to the sole of his feet stubbornly.

“It is sticky and grainy,” complained Anneli. Castor burst out laughing.

“That… that is just how sand is.”

“Like the sand in the desert?” asked Anneli placing his foot back down.

“Not exactly. The sand in the desert is dry so it won’t stick to you as much but it still gets everywhere. But the sand here is rather large and corse compared to sand back home. Even on the beaches the sand is softer and finer and a brighter yellow compared to here. Ah! Let’s go to the sea!”

The sea was vast, far beyond anything Anneli could fathom. It was a hundred thousand times larger than he had thought and it spread to the horizon and wrapped around the coast. The water curled into large waves and turned white as it hit the rocks or the beach. To Anneli it looked like the snapping foaming maws of a gigantic beast. Castor had already taken off his shoes and rolled up the bottom of his trousers.

“Come one Anneli let’s go in.”

Anneli shook his head.

“Why? Are you scared?”

Anneli again shook his head. He looked at the sea, into its vast infinite unknown and felt a sense of mounting doom he could not quite comprehend.

“Come on Anneli,” said Castor extending his hand to Anneli, ” it is a lot more fun than it looks.”

Anneli placed the plant on the beach and cautiously took Castor’s hand, letting him take him to the water.

“Ahhh! It’s cold isn’t it!” exclaimed Castor as he stepped into the water. The shallow waves gently lapped their feet.

“It is alright isn’t it?” asked Castor.

“Yeah, it is alight.”

“Good let’s go deeper!” said Castor with a large smile taking a step deeper into the sea, pulling Anneli along with him. The water was now half-way up Anneli’s calf and the bottom of his cape was soaking wet. Anneli looked at Castor who was smiling brightly and almost beaming with joy. Anneli had never seen Castor as happy as he looked at this moment. Anneli turned to the horrizon and inhaled the salty sea spray. He himself did not know why but a certain part of him felt more alive than ever standing in the sea looking towards the great beyond. He let himself be lost in the hypnotic rhythm of the waves.

Shhhhshaaa shhhhshaaa shhhhshaaa shhhhshaaa

Chapter 75 Sulking

During the next few days the journey by caravan, Castor spent most of is time in the caravan with Anneli. Even though Castor did not intend to he was in a foul mood and a considerable amount of pain so would occasionally snap at Anneli.

“Get off Anneli!”

Anneli frowned and moved to the other side of the caravan. He curled himself into a ball under his blanket and pouted for a few hours. Castor barely moved during the day preferring to dwell in his pain and self pity. He did not move as much as he should have or talk nearly as much as he usually did. He slept most of the first day and. Now bored and alone as Anneli had gotten sick of his attitude and only spoke to him to remind him to eat and take medicine. On the third day since leaving the village Castor had lost track of the time and was submerged in his own thoughts. Anneli, not yet having forgiven Castor tugged on the fabric of his clothing.

Castor looked up at Anneli blankly. “Will you finish reading this to me?” asked Anneli holding the book of fairy tales in his hand. Castor did not especially want to but knew he had been treating Anneli unfairly took the book and opened to the last page they were reading.

“The wizard stroked his chin in deep thought. ‘Take this,’ said the wizard and took a small bottle of dark glass from his shelf full of glass vessels. ‘The forest is cursed so that no man may enter. If you drink this you will be able to enter the forest but at night you will turn into a beast. You must be careful as at night all manner of horrifying ghouls and monsters trudge through the forest but you must be brave, it  will be only at night you will find your way. During the day when you are a man the forest itself will play tricks on your mind and make you hopelessly lost and paranoid but you must remember not to believe your senses in the forest. Only trust your heart.’

“The knight took vessel, and asked to pay to wizard. ‘I cannot except your payment yet. Once you have completed your quest, I rather not have the copper of a man I may ave lead to death for following my advice.’ The knight thanked the wizard and left. He drank the entire vessel standing before the forest and stepped among the trees with little effort. As he walked through the forest he noted the quietness and remembered the wizards words to not trust his senses. The forest began to grow darker and darker, the sun which had been at its peak set in a matter of minutes. It was strange, sudden and filled the knight with dread. He questioned how long had he been walking. Had it been hours but felt like minutes? How long had he been in the forest? How many hours or days had passed? Was it just the forest playing tricks on him?

“He thought about the wizards words. His heart was beating rapidly, he could feel the pulsation throughout his body. ‘I could not have been traveling for hours I do not feel fatigue, thirst or hunger,’ the knight thought to himself. He closed his and placed his hand on his chest and focuses on calming himself down. He slowly opened his eyes. It was no longer pitch black but day light once again. The forest cannot be trusted. The knight walked through the forest for what felt like hours but he could not be sure. He could not get her baring and everything looked the same. He was convinced that he was simply walking in circles. As the light grew dim and darkness fell the knight began to feel dizzy, ‘is this a trick of the forest?’ he asked himself. He glanced at his hand, it was transparent. His vision became very blurry and then pitch black. He began to panic but within a few minutes his vision returned. He looked around the forest at dusk and saw only endless trees. Yet it was strange, everything was taller than usual. He looked down once again at his hands and saw that they were now hooves. He had turned in to a pig.”

Chapter 74 seems uneventful

“Should we tell Clytemnestra about Castor as well?” asked princess Araliya as she rubbed oil on her skin before going to bed. Prince Pollux laughed to himself as he drank his tea of ginger, mint and honey. He had been under a lot of stress due to recent evens causing prince Pollux to suffer abdominal pain resulting in fatigue and even more stress. The doctor had told him to stay in bed for a day.

“Are you joking? I haven’t had any contact with her in years. And I doubt she will come even if we do tell her, I am pretty sure priests of her religion aren’t supposed to have any lingering ‘earthly’ attachments. The last time I met her she gave me sermon about everything people do is selfish and the only way to overcome suffering is to give up wanting everything.”

“She has the right to know. Religion or not she should at least be made aware of it.”

Pollux inhaled and exhaled deeply. He tended to be unreasonable and illogical when it came to his family. Something Araliya never failed to point out.

“Alright, if it means so much to you I will send her a letter tomorrow.”

Princess Araliya climbed into bed and curled up next to her husband. Pollux put his arm around her and kissed her on the forehead.

“Sleep well darling,” said Pollux. The princess nuzzled him lovingly.

“Pollux, when shall we have children?”

The princess knew her asking this made him uncomfortable. Every time she had asked he had always changed the subject or given unconvincing excuses.

“It is still too early dear. We are still young, I was still considered a child five years ago.”

“That is not a reason, you always avoid it. Do you not want to have children with me?”

“No dear! It is not that! I love you more than anything in the world but… I know it is hard for you to understand having children young is not common for my family. My father was even king for several years before I was born”

“You are not you father,” she replied dryly. “When I was younger, before I met you, I did not want to have children or get married because in my country once you get married you are trapped and are nothing but a glorified wet nurse. But it is different now, it is different with you. I want to have children with you. Even if you never become king or I get trapped in this country.”

Araliya watched her husband’s quivering eyes and dejected expression. She knew he felt guilty about denying her something she wanted to much.

“I do want to have children. But not now or any time soon. It is just not how it is here.”

“Why?”

“Because the prince had a tendency to to oust the king before his time. My father and my grandfather, every ruler after the blood queen overthrew their predecessor in varying degrees of brutality. Having children late is just postponing the inevitable.”

She turned in bed away from her husband and sulked.

“Our children won’t be like that! You are not like that!” hissed the princess.

“Am I really not? I have considered it, after what he did to Castor and maybe even before that. My father is old and his views are old and no longer match the world we live in.”

“You won’t do that will you?” For the first time since she had met her husband she felt fearful of his actions and intentions.

“I won’t, it is not in me to do such a thing no matter how much I fantasize about it. But I think Castor is capable of it. I think the reason father is so against brother and so intimidated by him is that Castor reminds him too much of himself as a young man.”

The  was thrown open by a disheveled and out of breath maid, “The king had collapsed.”

 

Chapter 73 bitter medicine

Castor woke up to his brain painfully pulsating against his skull and blinding burning morning sun flooding into the room. He winced and tried to cover his face with his hand. A sharp pain soared from his chest, along his arm and to his fingertips.

“Fuck!” Castor put his hand down. He remembered the cracked rib and the accompanying pain. “Fuck,” he murmured again to himself. Castor tried to open his eyes again. The light! “Fuck,” Castor closed his eyes again. He tried to move his face away from the window, a searing pain stopped him again.

“Are you alright?” asked Anneli.

“C-can you close the curtains,” whined Castor feeling quite sorry for himself. Anneli jumped from the bed and closed the curtains. Castor suddenly felt some relief. “Can I have some water as well please?” Anneli jumped from the bed and hopped to the table at the corner of the room. He poured a glass of water from the jug placed on the table next to a book about local birds. Castor gulped down the whole glass of water ignoring the pain he felt. “Another please,” said Castor giving the glass back to Anneli.

“Do you want to take the medicine now as well?”
“Yeah,”

Castor slowly took the bitter pills.

“The caravans are leaving at noon. Do you want to eat before we leave.”

“Maybe, we should wait a few day until the next group of caravans comes through here. I’m not in any hurry to get to Cumulus.”

“But then you will have to pay the fees again.”

“It’s fine. I have enough, I can probably still afford to get us to Pyropolis even if we spend a bit more money. Besides I am still in a lot of pain so travelling will be difficult”

Anneli could tell from his voice and the guilt in his eyes that that was not the real reason. Anneli climbed on the bed and lay his head on Castor’s lap.

“Is it because of Dominic?”

Castor smiled nervously, “of course not,”

“But you got upset when you two argued.”

“I was not upset!”

“You got drunk almost immediately,”

“Well, I was a little upset.”

“Why don’t you just apologize.”

“I am not going to apologize! He is the one who said terrible things!”

“What did he say?” asked Anneli.

Castor looked guilty and upset, Anneli saw that he did not want Anneli to know. This irritated Anneli. Everything that had to do with Dominic and Castor was out of Anneli’s reach.

“Nothing, it doesn’t matter what he said. We just had an argument it is not a big deal.”

After half an hour the medicine numbed Castor pain enough that he could move with some effort. It was already half eleven so Anneli and Castor gather their few belongings and walked to where the caravans had been placed outside the village.

“Castor!”

Dominic approached Castor and Anneli, slowly and cautiously.

“I’m going to wait by the caravan,” said Anneli to Castor as Dominic reached him. Anneli unhappily walked away.

“About last night-”

“It’s alright Dominic, I over reacted as well.”

“I’m so relieved, I thought you would never forgive me.”

Castor had not forgiven him.

“It’s fine,” replied Castor, “I wasn’t thinking clearly.”

“But I really am sorry, I shouldn’t have accused you of that.”

“Accused me of what?” asked Castor crossing his arms. Dominic laughed nervously.

“You know, I just got really upset and said you and Anneli were too close but-”

“I think you’re exact words were ‘it is disgusting how you let that thing hang off you like that. It makes it seem like you are having an inappropriate relationship’ or did I paraphrase?”

“But Castor I-”

“It’s fine, it’s fine! Just forget it. Cumulus is only two days away maybe we should just…maybe we should just not talk for the rest of the journey.”

“Castor that-”

“I’m sorry Dominic, I need to cool my head.” Castor turned and walked back to Anneli.

 

Chapter 71 reveals secrets

“What are you doing here Helen?”

Helen had just returned to her room from the bath wearing a blue Kaftan with white embroidery at the borders. Pollux was pacing up and down in her room, fuming.

“Do you think you can just strut back here after what happened last time? You need to at least tell us before hand! Father is still furious about what happened then, he even threatened to disown you if you came back.”

“Calm down brother, he won’t disown me. Those were all empty threats.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I came back for Castor’s funeral. Even if you don’t have his body there will still be a ceremony won’t there?”

Pollux froze. His voice quivered as if he were confronted by the ghost of someone he had betrayed. “How did you know?”

“I got a letter from father.”

“Father still keeps in contact with you?”

“No, it was the first time since I left the last time. I was really shocked, I thought he would be the last person to send a letter about Castor’s death.”

Pollux rubbed his mouth as he did when he was stressed.

“Brother,” spoke Helen in an uncharacteristic soft voice, “did father have Castor killed?” Pollux did not reply. He looked back at Helen with a painful expression, full of guilt.

“I suspected as much,” murmured Helen regretfully.

“Right now, the situation is quite delicate. No one outside the court knows of his death and we cannot let the news spread. After what happened, no one doubts brother’s death was father doing. Yet if any of the other kingdoms and domains find out about his filicide they won’t hesitate to make a fuss. This desert has-”

“What happened? You said ‘after what happened’. What happened?”

“A few weeks ago, the royal fortune teller said the gods wanted Castor to be king,” explained Pollux.

“What! No one believes in that any more! It is just a tradition!”

“The people of this kingdom believe in the tradition. They want to believe it is the will of the gods. They want to be in the favor of the gods. This desert has been on the verge of war for the past few months. War will break out soon and we don’t have a large enough army. We will have to conscript citizens and what do you think will happen if they know that their king was not chosen by the gods.”

“They will think the war is divine punishment,” replied Helen.

“At best they will be resentful and worst they will revolt.”

“But still killing brother is not right. He did not even want to be king.”

“I know.” Castor was exhausted every single moment in the palace had been tense and stressful since the news of Castor’s death had arrived. “It was incredibly short sited of father. He is now trying to pretend Castor never existed. There is not even going to be a funeral, father wants to give him a plaque with the fallen soldiers’ graves.”

“Father is such a monster.”

“But, there is a chance Castor might still be alive.”

“How?”

“You see, there is something not right with the details of Castor’s death. There is still a sliver of a chance he survived.”

“Oh no!” said Helen, he eyes widening with fear.

“Why? It is good news!”

“No! It is amazing that brother might still be alive but-” Helen’s voice became weaker.

“But,” she continued, ” mother is coming.”

“Why would mother be coming here?” exclaimed Polloux.

“I told her of Castor’s death, of course she is coming here. He was her favorite son after all.”

 

Chapter 70 details the return

The camel was much slower than her stallion so it took four days to reach the outskirts of Pyropolis. The sand gradually turned to rocks and then solid ground. Helen saw more and more palm trees as she reached the end of the desert and trampled tufts of yellow grass. It was mid morning when she arrived but already blisteringly hot. At the edge of the border of the city was a stable where she traded her camel for a white mare.

“Two thousand rand,” said the owner of the stable, furiously writing a slip of payment. “we will trade you back a camel when you bring back the horse and then we will return the thousand rand deposit.”

It seemed a bit expensive but she was not in a mood to haggle. She had used up most of her supplies and left almost all of her belongings at the stable. She only took her curved blade with her. She rode through the slums and into the town. As she passed houses, streets and shops people stared at her and assumed from her clothing that she was a stranger from the desert. The markets she passed were loud and busy despite the heat. She had been in the desert for over a year, and now the people and buildings Pyropolis seemed familiar but also foreign. Helen drank the last of her water as she reached the outer palace walls. The sun had now reached its highest point.

“Hey! What is you business here?” shouted the guards but she ignored them and passed through the gates into the palace. She ignored all the guards and rode to the palace stables and left the horse in one of the empty quarters. She walked passed the fountains and gardens and entered the palace through the front entrance. The servants and guards looked horrified as a dirty, dusty desert person walked through the immaculate palace halls and corridors.

“You!” shouted a tall guard, and grabbed Helen’s arm tightly. “What do you think you are doing here?” he shouted spraying spit everywhere.

“Don’t touch me,” growled Helen with the fury of a man eating tiger. The guard immediately let go. “Princess Helen?” whimpered the guard backing away.

“Tell my brother I have arrived. Tell the servants to draw me a bath and prepare my clothing.” Helen glared at the guard and continued to walk to her room.

Chapter 68 so much more

Anneli sat outside the room in the corridor. He had nowhere he could go or where else to wait while Dominic was in the room. Anneli tried not to but listened to the muffled voices from inside the room. Anneli felt a heaviness inside his chest as tears welled in his eyes. The frustration and agitation that had grown inside him over the passed few days finally came out as tears. He hated Dominic for ignoring him and being rude to him. He resented Castor for never noticing and continuing to be friendly with Dominic. Yet the person he hated the most was himself. He felt so inferior to Dominic who had so many stories and opinions and just knew so much more than Anneli. Dominic could have deep discussions with Castor, he could make Castor laugh and could keep his attention. He realized that since Castor was always to nice to him, Anneli must have bored Castor who just put up with it. The more Anneli thought about it the worse he felt and the more tears that fell.

The door was thrown open. Dominic briskly walked out and down the corridor with a bright red face and angry eyes.

Anneli was so surprised that he had unconsciously stopped crying. He wiped away any remnant tears and opened the door slowly. He put only his head into the room.

“Castor,”

“Anneli- um… where did you go?”

“I was just outside. Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Hey…um… help me up, let’s go the tavern to get some food.”

“The doctor told you to rest.”

“I was also told to not stay still for too long. Let’s go, I feel like drinking.”

Chapter 67 what did you say?

The door slammed behind Anneli. Dominic and Castor were silent for a moment and stared at the now closed door. “That was strange,” laughed Castor, trying to ease the tension that Anneli had left behind.

“Can you move you hand please?” asked Castor, “I’m still sore every where.” Dominic quickly withdrew his hand. Castor was very aware of how Dominic felt and it made him feel very uncomfortable. The way he looked at Castor, the way he tried to casually touch Castor, the way Dominic’s voice would be slightly higher and sweeter when he talked to him. Castor did not want to acknowledge it or reject him so he continued to pretend to be ignorant. Dominic was a nice person but Castor did not like him that way which made every one of their interactions awkward. The feeling of guilt grew inside Castor each and every time he talked to Dominic. His only solace was that in a few days they will part ways and not see each other again.

“Is Anneli your pet or something? You have monsters as pets where you come from right?”

“Not really a pet. He’s not even from my country, I just met him awhile ago.”

“But you speak to him in your language right? You speak to me and everyone in Saxon but you speak to him in a different language so I assumed he was a pet you brought from your country with you.”

Castor had no reply. He had not realized that he was speaking to Anneli differently. Talking to Anneli was so easy and natural he had not put thought into which language he used since Anneli understood him perfectly well from the beginning.

“If Anneli is not your pet, what is it to you?” asked Dominic fiddling with the cuff of his sleeve.

“A travel companion I guess.”

“You seem a bit to close for travel companions.”

“Well I guess he imprinted on me like a baby duck.”

Dominic chuckled, ” that thing is a baby duck. It looks more like a disfigured bear.”

“Why do you not like Anneli?” Castor had known from the beginning that Dominic did not like Anneli. At first he assumed he was wary of Anneli because people of this country were afraid of monsters. Yet as the days went by Dominic seemed to become more and more hostile and disrespectful towards Anneli.

“It’s not that I do not like Anneli, it is just strange how attached it is to you. That thing-”

Any good impression Castor had of Dominic vanished. He had been tolerant before since they would only travel together a few days and he did not want it to be awkward but he was at the limit of his patience. Dominic may have been just jealous of how kind he was to Anneli but Castor felt that now he was seeing Dominic’s real personality and Castor did not like his real personality.