Susi & Vihreä

Chapter One

Susi stared angrily at her brother King Dubh. Her hands were clenched into fists at her sides, her whole body shook. To her right leaning against one of the pillars was a man her brother had introduced as Vihreä Tumma, son of Duke Alexander Tumma and Duchess Rhea Tumma, and an exorcist. His deep blue grey eyes looked her over as if sizing her up. It took everything she had not to pull her sword from its sheath and challenge him. Long brown hair was was pulled away from his face in a neat ponytail. He wore a forest green tunic with tight black pants and knee high black boots. A cloak rested on his shoulders, wet from the rain. As far as she could tell he had no weapons. Standing next to him was a bigger man that seemed to tower over them. He had an apologetic look in his chocolate brown eyes. His name was Ig Serif and he was a famous adventure novelist.

“What is the meaning of this?” She finally asked between gritted teeth.

“I would not have asked this of you, but I owe Alexander a favor. You are also Jaron’s First Knight, his most powerful.” Aurelius replied calmly.

“We could always hire another knight.” Vihreä said cooly. “One who speaks to her king in such a way does not even deserve to bear the title.” Her emerald eyes jumped to his face, burning with an angry fire. He just stared unflinchingly back at her. He had to admit she was beautiful with long black curls falling to her shoulders and framing her narrow face. She wore dark brown pants with a white shirt and black boots trimmed in fur. Her shirt was partially soaked and she didn’t seem to notice the cold. He had been told that she lived on top of White Claw Mountain where it always snowed so she did not feel the bite of the air like he did.

“Please, allow me to speak with her in private. Make yourselves at home. I will have someone wake you early in the morning.” Aurelius dismissed them and they left. He stood and crossed the room to her, pulling her into a hug. “I’m sorry sister dear, please do not be angry. I know how you feel about exorcists and necromancers, but you are the only one I trust to get him and Ig to Tillid. He’s just trying to stop a band of necromancers and his friend is writing a book about it all. Believe me after what happened to mom I understand your apprehension, but I am asking you not as your king, but as your brother.”

She sighed and hugged him back. “Fine, I agree to do this because you are my brother and I love you. I must get Lily and Shiro though. I will be back down later tonight. Oh and don’t tell that idiot upstairs that I am your sister. I don’t need him pretending to be nice.”

“I wont say a word. I know you don’t like special treatment because you are my sister. I’m sorry Vihreä Tumma was so rude to you.”

“Don’t be, he’s a exorcist. What else could you expect.” Aurelius hugged his sister again “I’m sorry to ask this of you.”

“It’s ok. It is my job.” She walked out to get her friends. They would keep her calm and help her to not be rude to Vihreä. She arrived at Lilys house first and she happily followed as they got Shiro. The two would spend the night in the castle with her so they could leave at daybreak with the people she needed to escort. The rain came down hard as they walked but they didn’t care, they barely even noticed. When Susi returned to the castle she informed her brother she was back with her friends. He had already gotten rooms ready for them to stay in that night.

A butler came out and escorted them to where they would be sleeping. Her friends were excited about another adventure but Susi was having trouble. She normally loved escorting people. It gave her an excuse to fight and hone her skills. This man she didn’t like atall. He was pompous and she was sure a complete ass since he was an exorists. She didn’t want to keep such low and vile company. Susi tossed and turned, nightmares filling her dreams. She jolted in an upright position when morning came. She was actually sweating her dreams had been so terrible. She hoped they wouldn’t come while they were on their journey. Last thing she needed was Vihreä teaseing her. She may punch him in the face and get in trouble.

There was light tapping on the bedroom door that woke Vihreä. He stood, pulling on his pants and answering the door. A young maid blushed at him being shirtless and he sighed. “Sorry sir, I was told to wake you.” She said in a small voice.

“Thank you, please wake my companion.” He replied and she hurried away. He pulled the rest of his clothes on and exited the room as Ig was coming out if his.

“Good morning my friend.” Ig said happily, fingers laced behind his head. “Are you ready to piss off more knights?”

“Oh please, she deserved a bit of a reprimanding. Did you hear the way she spoke to the king. I have a feeling they have some sort of relationship. Why else would she be allowed to say such things?”

“Maybe you should stop being an idiot and shut your mouth for once. Just because you are the son of a Duke and a powerful exorcist doesn’t mean you have to be an ass.”

He glared up at Ig. The man had no filter, always spoke his mind o matter who he was talking to. There were times he felt like casting a silent spell on the writer. “Lets just eat breakfast so I can check the carriage and make sure we have everything we need.”

Susi came out of her room and ran straight into Ig, his large frame very nearly knocked her down. He grabbed her shoulders and apologized. “It’s quite alright, I should have been paying attention. I hope you slept well.”

“Yes ma’am I did, thank you.” He replied as Lily and Shiro came down the hall. “Who are these two?”

“This is Second Knight Lily Gil and Second Knight Shiro Lobo. They are my friends, my brother and sister in arms. Guys, this is Ig Serif.” Both of their mouths dropped open and she slapped her palm against her forehead. She had forgotten they were fans of the man’s work.

“Oh my god, the Ig Serif?” Lily said with a blush.

“No freaking way.” Shiro added and was clearly star struck. She cleared her throat and they straightened up, barely managing to compose themselves. Vihreä rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. He had a feeling this was going to be a long week.

They all went to breakfast while Lilly and Shiro talked non stop to the cheerful Ig. He was always happy to meet his fans and talk to them. He didn’t understand why most writers were rude to them. They acted like they were better because they could write a story but honestly it’s the people who make you the money and make you popular so they deserve your attention. Vihreä could barely tolerate the two even though they weren’t speaking to him. He wished Ig would silence them but he knew better than to even hope for that. Ig would allow them to go on as long as they chose to. He couldn’t believe he’d be dealing with this and that angry woman the whole trip.

Vihreä would be glad when they all parted ways.When breakfast was finished and they were all sure they had all the supplies they needed for the trip they loaded into the carriage and took off. Tillid would take them a week to get to by carriage. Susy was not excited about looking at the exorsist for that long. She didn’t mind Ig nearly as much as Vihreä even though she still wasn’t fond of him. Her friends were happy so she’d try to feed off their happy energy.

They discussed Igs first book heavily. It was Shiros and Lilys favorite. It apparently was Igs too so he was very pleased they wanted to talk about it in such detail. Susy actually found herself interested while it bored the exorsist to sleep. Even his gentle breathing while he rested bothered Susy. She tuned it out, just taking in the chatter of her friends and Ig.

“So what’s your next book going to be about?” Lily asked.

“An irritating exorcist and three knights, two with bouncy dispositions and one with a horrible temper.” Ig replied and Susi glared at him. He laughed and then squeezed her shoulder. “Try not to gut me for my mouth. I tend to say what I think no matter the consequences.”

“I’m sure I can refrain from causing you bodily harm.” She said and gave him her best smile. She glanced at the sleeping exorcist and wanted to kick his seat to make him wake up. He was incredibly rude for a nobleman. She looked out the window and realized the sun was at its half way mark. She rummaged in one of the bags and handed everyone awake food. She through an apple in Vihreä’s lap and he jerked awake.

“What?” He said angrily.

“It’s time to eat.” They glared at each other and the others seemed to push themselves as far away from them as was physically possible. He bit into the apple, never taking his eyes off of her. When they had finished eating Lily and Shiro went back to chatting with Ig. At least the writer was civil and honest. He didn’t just sit there all smug and uptight. She watched the world passing quickly by, glancing at the exorcist every now and then to see he was watching her. She knew he was playing mind games and she would have no part of it.

As the sun fell and the sky began to darken their driver pulled off the muddy road and into some grass so the wheels would not become stuck and the horses would be mostly shielded from the rain. They all stepped out of the carriage and found a dry spot deeper in the woods to make camp. Lily and Shiro gathered wood with Ig, leaving Vihreä to set up the tents with Susi. She did everything in her power to stay away from him and that was more irritating than her fire spitting mouth.

“So what kind of relationship do you have with the king that you are allowed to speak to him so rudely?” He finally asked and she spun around to glare at him.

“None of your damn business.” She snapped.

“Does that mean you’re screwing him? How very unlady like of you.” She was across the camp and slapping him before she could stop herself. Ig and the others walked up just as her palm made contact with his cheek. “Watch your tongue exorcist or I will cut it out.” She stomped off before she killed him. She wasn’t going to give him the pleasure of the truth. She hoped his curiosity made him squirm. She had six more days of dealing with him. She believed she could do it as long as she stayed away from him. She was going to take the driver’s place to keep from having to speak to him.

“Can’t you just leave her alone and let her guard us Vihreä?” He stood there. Shaking in anger that she would dare slap him. No woman had ever struck his face before. He wanted to go slap her back but wasn’t that low. It pissed him off even more that Ig was on her side. The only thing that kept him from chewing the man out was that he appreciated Ig was so honest. he always knew precisely what he thought about everything. That was a rarity since most people just tried to please him and say what they thought he wanted to hear. Shiro and Lily knew Susy had a hot temper but also knew she wouldn’t have struck Vihreä for no reason. They now didn’t like the man in the slightest and would ask Susy when they got the chance about what happened.

The night evening was tense until they all went to sleep. The thoughts of strangling Vihreä helped Susy get some shut eye. Morning came and Susy was excited to get back on the road. They were one day closer to being rid of the pompous asshole. Lily went up and hugged Susy hoping it would help her stay calm. “Thanks” Susy said making Lily smile. Shiro then hugged her aswell. Susy went up to the driver and talked in hushed tones with him. The man agreed to let her drive while he sta with everyone else.

“are you serious?” Vihreä asked when the driver got in the carriage and Susy sat in his place. “very, now get in. I can watch out for danger up here.”

“whatever” he said angrily as he climbed in. He had never met a woman like her and hoped he didn’t again.

Susi flicked the reigns and the horses moved on then flicked them again and clicked her tongue so they sped up. The faster they went, the faster she could be rid of him. He was nothing but a self centered, egotistical animal. His attractive face was nothing but a mask of deception and lies. It did not mirror the ugliness that he had inside. To jump to assumptions about her and Aurelius. She had almost told him who she was to make him shut up, but decided against it. She would only use that card if she absolutely had to. She watched the rode ahead, mud flicked up and onto her pants as they hit a puddle. She didn’t care, she was used to being messy.

“What did you say to her to piss her off like that?” Ig asked as they hit another bump and he placed his hand against the ceiling to steady himself.

“I asked her if she was screwing the king.” Vihreä answered angrily. Lily and Shiro looked at him in wide eyed shock and Ig just shook his head.

“You owe her an apology you brute.” Lily snapped.

“She slapped me, I feel we are even.”

“Not even close ass hole.” Shiro crossed his arms and looked disgusted.

“You know they’re right.” Ig chimed in. The driver said nothing, simply tuned them out. Vihreä did not apologize, had been taught that apologizing was a sign of weakness and that people would take advantage of that weakness if they got the chance. He looked out the window, avoiding their angry looks. Her actions had only proven him right.

Susi suddenly had a bad feeling and pulled the horses to a stop. She heard a lot of thumping in the back and hoped she had broken the exorcist’s nose. The carriage door opened and Vihreä stuck his head out. “Why have we stopped?” He asked between clenched teeth.

“Just shut up you idiot I’m trying to listen.” She shot back and he bit his tongue. She jumped down from her seat and drew her sword. She cocked her head to the side and closed her eyes, listening closely. There was a tapping sound coming from her left, wood against wood. It was a sort of code. “Come out now.” She demanded. Vihreä was about to say something else when a group of about ten bandits stepped out. He stepped out of the carriage and stood next to Susi. “Get back inside exorcist.”

“No, I can help you fight.” He reached into the sleeves of his tunic, pulling out two daggers.

Susi rolled her eyes “fine, just don’t blame me if you get hurt” Susi actually found herself impressed by how well he fought. She assumed he always had others fight for him but the way he moved told her hat wasn’t true. Her friends didn’t even have to get out. They handled the situation with ease between the two of them. When they were all slain Susi climbed back up to drive while Vihreä sat with everyone else. She played the fight in her head. This was the first pleasant thought she had of this man since she met him the night before last. She almost hated herself for being impressed by how well he fought.

Soon her repulsion resurfaced and she drove on. Shiro and Lily would have complimented Vihreä on his skills because they were also impressed but disliked him so much for what he said to Susi they kept their mouths shut. That accusation was disgusting, they weren’t even sure why you’d ever say such a thing. Noblemen always thought they had the right to do whatever they please since the words kissed the very ground they walked on. Ig began writing, he had studied the battle carefully to accurately write it down. When writing about real people he strived to stay as accurate as possible.

Shiro and Lily looked over at Ig. They wished they could read all he had written so far. Ig cleared his throat and the two realized they were being rude. They both turned to opposite windows to look out at the scenary while the driver sat uninterested. He was just glad he was going to get paid for doing nothing. Regardless of Susi driving he knew he would stil get paid his full amount.

Vihreä found himself admitting that he admired the ferocity in her fighting. She stared down a group of bandits, rushed them without a single thought for herself. She did her job with grace and she moved on. They had not killed all the bandits per her request. She left a couple alive so they could warn others what would happen if they attacked anyone else on the road. One of them had looked at her with recognition and fear and he wondered if she had a reputation for slaying thieves. He had not bothered to find anything out about her before arriving at the castle. She was a knight with a good sword arm, that’s all he had cared about. Now, he found himself intrigued by this hot tempered woman who would rather sleep in a den of wolves than trust him to watch her back.

“Excuse me, Liliy right?” He asked the dark eyes woman sitting across from him.

“Yeah.” He could hear the hatred in her tone.

“May I ask why Susi has such a mistrust of exorcists?”

“You’re kidding right? Just look at how you have treated her.” Shiro said.

“She hates my temperament, but she also hates all exorcists. If she were to meet one with a softer disposition she would still hate him or her. Why is that?”

“You would think someone like you would know about her mother.” Lily said.

“Why would I care about a knight’s mother?” He found himself becoming confused.

“Oh I see, well in that case you’ll have to ask her yourself.” With that they both stopped talking to him and went back to staring out the windows. He was not used to being ignored and became increasingly frustrated. He crossed his arms and stared out the window, wondering what could possess someone to hate exorcists so much.

Chapter Two

He almost wanted to pull that he was a nobleman to force them to speak but decided he could get more information if he just waited and prodded a little more at them. If he did it correctly he would find out what he wanted to know. Ig seemed to be writting and erasing a long time. He wondered how the man was potraying him in the book. Vihreä was going to read it as soon as it was published. Ig finally put his writing stuff away in his bag then asked “how long have you been friends with Susi?”

“We’ve both been friends with her since we were children” Shiro answered. “Isn’t that wonderful. Not many people have friendships like that.”

“Well Susi is normally different. She’s fun and to spite what you see is a very nice person”

“Oh I know, I coudl tell by how she greeted me this morning. I’m sorry Vihreä has put her on edge.”

“well he was right earlier. He’d put her on edge regardless because he’s an exorsist.”

“Tis a shame, I’ve met a few that were nice.”

“Well, it’s not our story to tell but we really can’t blame her. If you knew, you wouldn’t blame her either.”

“It isn’t my place to blame her. I do not know her past so can’t judge how she chooses to feel when exorsists are around. I’m sure she has good reason.” Shiro seemed to get lost in thought. Ig turned his attention to Lily. He was trying to get a little background for his story. “So does Susi have a boyfriend?”

“Nope, she really doesn’t have the time.”

“she stays busy?”

“Very, we help her on most things she does but not all. She truly doesn’t need help.”

“Yes, I saw how skillfully she fought. I see how she got her title.” Ig proceeded to ask a few more questions while Vihreä listened intently. He really was curious about her and wanted to know as much as he could. Vihreä was grateful he let Ig come along to write about theri journey.

The sun finally started to go down and the rain let up. She pulled the carriage off the road and jumped down then tied the horses to a tree. She banged on the door and everyone jumped out. She grabbed a couple of apples out of a bag and fed the horses. She then got them some water in a small bowl and allowed them to drink until they were no longer thirsty. “Poor beasts, out here in such terrible weather. You weren’t raised in stuff like this were you.” She said softly and loved on both of them. Ig, Lily, Shiro and the driver were setting up camp so that left her and Vihreä to gather wood. She huffed, but went along with him anyway. She wasn’t willing to let Ig and the driver freeze to death because of her distaste for the exorcist.

“Lily and Shiro mentioned you had been friends since childhood. What was that like?” He was trying for polite conversation.

“It was fun. We all wanted to be knights and used to play a lot of games and take turns being the knights.” She replied flatly as she searched for the driest pieces of wood.

“I’m sure your parents were proud of you.”

“My mother was always proud of me no matter what I chose to do, but my father had to warm up to the concept of me not doing my duty.”

“Duty?”

She glanced at him then away again. “Why don’t you get to the real question you’ve been dying to ask me since we met.”

He wondered how she could read him so easily. He had practiced hiding his emotions and here she was breaking through that mask. He cleared his throat and picked up a piece of wood. “What do ou have against exorcists?”

“When I was fifteen, before I went off to begin my studies with Joran, one killed my mother. She had become possessed by and evil spirit and this idiot came to get rid of it and he did at the expense of my mother. I held her hand while she begged him to stop chanting, while she screamed and her nose and ears bled. He said it was normal. He lied to me, my father and my brother. He had no idea what he was doing. He was lucky I was just a child and not a full fledged knight or I would have cut him down in an instant.” She felt tears burning in her eyes and forced them back. She would not cry in front of this man.

“I’m so sorry. Your friends mentioned that I should have known this for myself, but I don’t understand how I should know.”

“You idiot, you stupid blind idiot. I would have thought someone so observant would have known about me, but apparently not. I bet Ig noticed, but then again he is a writer. The driver knows who I am as do my companions.”

“Who are you?”

“I am First Knight Susi or if you want to be even more formal I am Susi Rose Dubh, the Rose Princess and older sister of King Aurelius Michael Dubh.” His eyes widened in shock. “That’s right, I’m not my brother’s lover. I’m his older sister, his advisor and his First Knight. I am his sword and shield, I am his anchor in the most horrific of storms. I use to read him bedtime stories. If you dare treat me any different I swear to you that I will beat you into a bloody pulp.”

Vihreä didn’t know what to say. he was so shocked words wouldn’t form. Even if they could he didn’t know what he should say. Now he really felt horrible about accusing her of being the kings lover. That would be revolting knowing now that they were siblings. It really threw him that a princess would be a knight, much less First Knight. Susi went back to gathering wood. She needed to do somthing before the flood gates of tears broke through or she hurt him. She missed her mother so much. She wished the man would have just stopped since he didn’t know what he was doing. she’d still be alive if he would have cared atall. Meeting Vihreä showeed her that they really were all just a bunch of selfish assholes.

Vihreä really wanted to say somthing but knew no matter what he said it wouldn’t help. She was very obviously holding back tears. He felt like hugging her and telling her to cry but he was sure that would only enrage her. He was kicking himself for how he had treated her this whole time. It wasn’t his fault what happened but now he could understand why she was so apprehensive about helping him. He had respect for her that she came atall. Vihreä hoped he’d find some way to make his attitude up to her. Vihreä prayed she wouldn’t take it as special treatment because she was the kings sister.

He wished she hadn’t said that part so there’d be no chance of the thought. When they had all the wood they needed they walked back to camp. Ig was surprised to see Vihreä struggling to hold up his head and Susi looking close to tears. Ig realized she must have told him why she hated exorcists. He was glad to see some humanity in Vihreä. This whole trip he had seen nothing but a pompous ass but he seemed to actually care about her pain.

“Please make a fire Shiro. I’m going to go on a short walk. Watch over the exorcist and Ig.” Susi said as she dropped the wood. “I will be back soon, I promise.” She walked away and everyone looked at Vihreä like he was a venomous snake. He sat down, looking away from them.

Susi walked angrily through the forest, not really caring which direction she went in. She could easily find her way back and the cold air would not be a problem. The heavens suddenly opened up, drenching her on cool water. She finally let herself cry when she knew the rain would wash her tears away. Her mother had been such a sweet and gentle soul, had not deserved to be brutalized by a man looking only to be paid. She dropped to her knees, holding her face in her hands and letting the pain leave her with her tears. She hated Vihreä, wished he would have just gone to Tillid on his own, but then again it had not been his idea to have an escort. It had been his father’s. she knew the Duke very well. He was a moron who looked at everyone else like they were lowly scum. She hated the man, how controlling he was of those around him. She hated finding an excuse for Vihreä’s attitude, but she was sure his father had made him into who he was.

Vihreä started to worry about her and got to his feet. The two knights watched him disappear and when they started to follow Ig ordered them not to. He knew they needed to talk before they were at each others throats. Even though it would make for fascinating literature, he really wanted them to at least semi get along. Vihreä moved quickly through the darkness, following her aura. The rain could wash away any scent, but her energy would remain for awhile. When he came upon her, he felt his heart breaking. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her to her feet. He turned her in his arms and hugged her. She pushed against his chest, screaming at him to go away, but he held tightly to her. She slammed her fists against his chest until she was crying so hard she could only bunch her fingers in his tunic.

“I hate you.” She screamed.

“I know and I’m sorry. I am an egotistical, emotionally stunted, asshole. I am not a nice person, in fact I am terrible to everyone. Hate me if you must, blame me if it will help you. I can handle it.” He said softly and she cried harder.

“Why do you have to go all soft on me damn it? It’s not fair.”

Vihreä just kept holding her. Susi hated that she was enjoying his arms holding her tight. What she needed was an embrace. She hadn’t been held in many years. Especially not so kindly. Susi couldn’t believe Vihreä had such kindness in him. He sat there and endured all her punches to comfort her. She knew he’d have atleast a bruise or two on his chest from the force of her punches.Vihreä stood there wishing he could make her stop crying. It was a heart wrenching sound that was stabbing his heart. She kept crying until there were no tears left but didn’t try to pull out of the hug. She wanted to enjoy the comfort of another for a while. Lily and Shiro were her friends but she always kept her strong front on in their presence.

After awhile she said “Thank you”

“I’m sorry I’ve been an ass. I really don’t know how to be any other way. It’s not really an excuse but I am sorry.” Susi didn’t say anything. She just allowed him to hold her. She sighed after a few more moments and pushed away from him. Vihreä actually felt sad he wasn’t holding her any longer. “will you ride in the carriage tomorrow please. I wont talk to you if thats what it will take.” Susi stood there with a concentrated look on her face. “Do you promise this change of heart isn’t because I’m the princess? I don’t go whining to my brother for anything so you don’t have to be nice to me.”

“I promise it’s not that. Please ride with me tomorrow.”

“I will decide in the morning”

They walked back together, Susi still keeping her distance from him. She was afraid of how much she loved being in his arms. They walked into camp and Ig cleared his throat. “What is it?” She asked.

“Your shirt is completely soaked through.” He answered and she rolled her eyes.

“Oh no, a bra. What ever shall we do?” Lily and Shiro laughed at her sarcastic tone.

“Come now, I thought you knights were supposed to be modest or maybe that was nuns. Either way could you please change your shirt?”

“Of course.” She went into her tent and pulled off her wet shirt then tugged on a dry one. “I’m going to go ahead and go to bed.” She said exhausted lay and all eyes turned to Vihreä. “Stop looking at him like you’re going to eat his soul. We talked and I think we’re both forgiven for acting like asses. Good night friends.” She went into her tent and pulled off her boots and pants. They were also soaked from the rain. She lay down and covered herself then drifted slowly off to sleep.

“So you two kissed and made up then?” Ig asked and Vihreä shot him a dark look. “Calm down, it was just a joke.”

“She’s been through enough without you making it into something stupid. Why don’t you just focus on writing your book before your mouth gets you in trouble Shannon “Ig” Serif.” With that Vihreä went into his tent and pulled the flap closed, leaving Ig to explain why he was going by Ig. He pulled off his boots and cloak then lay down on the pile of blankets. He was amazed that Susi and her companions didn’t notice how cold it was. He pulled some of the blankets over him, feel like the biggest wuss to ever walk the earth. He closed his eyes to the sound of soft chatter, hoping Susi would ride in the carriage with him again.

Susi woke to someone shaking her. She opened her eyes, surprised to see Vihreä crouched down next to her. “Good morning.” She said and stood. She turned this way and that, unable to find her pants. “Have you seen my pants?” She asked as she stretched.

“Could you stop stretching like that please and yes I have, give me a moment.” He exited her tent and came back with her pants which were nice and dry. “I thought you would want them for today.”

“Thank you.” She grabbed them and pulled them on then her boots. She stretched again and they stepped out of her tent. They ate a quick breakfast and broke down camp. Susi made sure the fire was completely out.

“So, will you sit with me?” Vihreä asked with a smile.

“How about you sit with me and take your turn at the reigns. It’s really easy.”

“Sounds good I guess.”

‘don’t be nervous” she said and gave him a slight smile. He smiled back then climbed up with her. He was scared of trying to drive the carriage but Susi was actually willing to do somthing with him so he was going to try. Susi could see the fear on his face and couldn’t fight back a real smile. Once she got him to relax he did well “see how easy it is? Barely takes any effort.”

“Thanks for being patient with me.”

“what else was I going to do? Yell at you?” He looked forward with a slight frown. Susi felt bad, she realized that probably was what he was expecting since she knew his father. “I’m sorry your dads a jerk” He took a quick glance at her then looked back ahead with a smile.”You dont want me to treat you special because you’re the princess and I don’t want you to pity me because of my dad. Got it?” Susi nodded and they sat in silence beside eachother. Susi began to think of last night. She thought of how much she enjoyed his embrace. It was odd to her that a man that was so repulsive the day before seemed alright now.

Susi was glad the next few days wouldn’t be miserable now. She’d hate to spend a week of her life with a man she hated. She didn’t know what to think of how she felt last night but she did know Vihreä wasn’t as bad as she thought. The day was peaceful and quite, not a monster or bandit in sight. Susi just enjoyed the fresh air of this place. There was nothing but trees on each side of them making the air very sweet and pure. Vihreä was enjoying watching her out of the corner of his eye. He was very skilled at looking at people without moving his eyes so it was obvious.

“By now someone would have already asked me why I didn’t take the throne.” She said and smiled at him.

“Why didn’t you?” He asked and smiled back.

“Because I wasn’t fit to be queen. I knew it from the moment I was told my father wanted me to take over. I refused and turned everything over to my brother. I don’t think I’m a bad leader, but my heart would not have been in running a kingdom. Aurelius has done a fantastic job and even loves it. Barely nineteen and he’s already wise beyond his years.” She reached over and pulled the reigns side ways. “You were veering toward the trees.”

Vihreä had not realized he had become so distracted. He was supposed to be calm and composed, not easily distracted and incompetent. She smiled at him again and his heart gave a stutter. She was absolutely gorgeous, even when she was angry or sad. She yawned and rested her head on his shoulder and he felt her warmth wash through him. “How long would you like me to keep going?” He asked softly.

“Until you think the horses need rest or someone inside has to use the bathroom.” Her voice was growing fainter and before he could say anything more she was sleeping. He sat as still as possible, not wanting to disturb her. Her breath tickled his neck, sending an exciting thrill through him. He shook his head, trying to get rid of these feelings he had for her. He would always be that which she hated most. Even though they were doing good now, there was nothing to stop them from clashing again. He was cold and she was hot, they were like fire and ice, wolves and lions. They didn’t mix or work together.

She could melt him with her fire, could very easily turn him inside out. He had to keep that wall around his heart so neither of them would have to walk away broken. He just had to get to Tillid and then he could send her on her way before pursuing the necromancers and exorcising the evil spirits and demons they had summoned to possess innocent people. He looked down at her, his heart giving that now all to familiar wrench. She had reprimanded him for going soft, but here she was sleeping on him, looking gorgeous. He reached over and brushed a few strands of stray hair behind her ear. He didn’t want to hurt her again, but he knew he would to keep her safe. She charged head long into battle, howling her war cry without even thinking that death could be waiting for her. She would follow him if it meant saving lives and he couldn’t have her facing off with a bunch of evil men who would capture her and use her in their experiments.

“You are so strong Susi. You stand up for what you believe is right and good without hesitation. These next few days are all I will have with you and I want to spend them making amends for what a fellow exorcist did to you. I hope you’ll let me and I hope you’ll forgive me when I send you away.” He whispered and she shifted slightly then mumbled something in her sleep. He waited until she settled back down before allowing himself to breathe.

Susi woke about a half hour later. She sat up and said “Thank you for letting me use you as a pillow” He couldn’t stop himself from grinning. “It wasn’t a problem. Not like I have anywhere to walk off too.” She smiled back, knocking the air out of him again. The rest of the day went on uneventful. They found a place to rest and made camp. Everything got situated quickly then they made something to eat. Vihreä was having trouble not looking at the flames dancing in Susis eyes. He was beginning to get impatient with himself. He couldn’t feel that way about her. He didn’t want to. It would only be disastrous and just because she was being nice now doesn’t mean she liked him like that. He simply gave a kind gesture the night before and now she was returning it by being nice.

When the food was gone they all crawled into their tents and shut their eyes for the night. It took Susi a little longer than everybody else to fall asleep. There was an owl nearby hooting. She could also hear crickets and other animals. To Susi it was like a very beautiful song. Better than anything man could compose. Her nap earlier made it easy to just lay there and enjoy natures sweet song. The very first music that the earth was given.

Eventually she decided it was time to rest. She needed to be alert for signs of any danger on the road tomorrow. There would be time to enjoy nature once her job was completed. Susi shut her eyes and let the owls, crickets and other animals lullaby her to sleep. Susi slept so hard that when she woke up groggy at first but quickly shook it off and was wide awake. Susi woke her friends and decided to let Vihreä and Ig wake on their own. This was their journey afterall.

“I hope we haven’t been neglecting you.” Lily said as they made breakfast.

“I spend every day with you two. Besides, you just met your biggest hero. Vihreä has been keeping me company.” Susi replied with a warm smile. Shiro reached over and placed the back of his hand against her forehead. “What are ou doing Shiro?”

“Since you seem to be talking crazy about an exorcist, I thought I’d make sure you didn’t have a fever.” He answered and she pushed his hand away.

“What are you talking about?”

“I wish you could see your face right now, you’re blushing.” Lily said with a grin.

“Shut up, no I’m not. It’s just cold out here.”

“Liar.” Both of them laughed as Lily dumped sugar and butter rice into bowls. She handed one to Susi who quickly began to eat. She couldn’t believe these two.

Vihreä Woke to the sound of talking. His heart raced at the sound of Susi’s musical voice. He just lay there for awhile listening to her. He couldn’t believe he was starting to fall for her. He longed to have her pressed against him while he kissed her and touched her. He sighed and the flap to his curtain was suddenly pulled open, startling him. “Good morning Vihreä.” Susi said as she looked down at him.

“She’s got it bad.” Shiro said.

“When’s the wedding?” Lily chimed in and Susi turned back to them the tent flap falling closed so all he heard were two pained screams as Susi smacked her companions on the backs of their heads.

“Get up and eat exorcist. If Ig isn’t awake by the time you finish eating I’m going to dump cold water on him.”

Vihreä smiled and stepped out of his tent, giving a nice stretch. Both Susi and Lily were staring at him open mouthed. “What?” He checked to see if there was anything on him.

“He looks even better shirtless.” Lily teased Susi mercilessly, making her blush a bright red. Susi forced herself to look away from him and finish her breakfast.

Chapter Three

Vihreä smiled then went back in the tent to put a shirt on. As hard as he was trying to push his feelings down he was still really happy Susi blushed. That moment was enough to warm his heart for the rest of the day. Vihreä made sure to wake Ig before stepping back out to eat breakfast. He was sure that Susis threat was serious. Ig quickly got dressed aswell then went to eat with everybody. “are we going to drive again or ride in the carriage?” Vihreä asked hoping he wasn’t being too presumptious in thinking she was sitting with him again. “we will let the actual driver drive today.” The man who was orginally guiding the horses nodded. He didn’t want to hear Lily and Shiro gush over Ig anymore anyway. He was also finidng the sound of Igs pencil writing on the paper annoying on such a quite ride.

Once everybody was full they broke down camp then loaded up. Susi sat between her friends on the opposite side of Vihreä which took away a little bit of the glow he got because she blushed earlier. He was hoping she’d sit by his side but he thought this was better anyway. The less contact they had the easier it would be to make her leave him when they arrived at their destination. Three more days and they’d be parting ways.

Lily wanted to tease Susi more while she had the chance. Men rarely caught her attention so this was a fleeting opportunity but Lily decided she didn’t want to end up black and blue. Shiro didn’t continue because he knew there was no future there. Susi would never be with an exorsist even if she did think he was attractive. Shiro, Lily and Susi started talking amongst themselves about the last adventure they went on. Shiro and Susi started laughing about Lily falling into a swamp and getting covered in god only knows what. Lily crossed her arms in false anger and looked away from the two which only had them laughing harder.

“Hey Susi, would you like to read what I wrote so far?” Ig asked with a bright smile.

“Sure, I guess.” She answered a little to enthusiastically. He patted the spot between him and Vihreä. “You could just hand it to me.”

“I want to be able to make notes while you read.” She narrowed her eyes at him, but quickly moved over to the other side of the carriage. She only managed to fit between the two men because she a woman. Ig was so tall his blonde spikey hair brushed the ceiling of the carriage. He handed her his notebook and she started reading. He had to be the one to push the exorcist and the knight together if they weren’t going to do it themselves. Susi’s friends were also no help.

“Hey now wait a minute, this is not true.” Susi yelled, her face bright red.

“What are you talking about?” Ig asked innocently.

“Oh don’t even pretend you don’t know.” She pointed to the part in his little story where she was kissing Vihreä after breaking down in the middle of the woods. “Lies, lies, lies.”

“I write fantasy novels for a living. It’s supposed to be lies.”

“What are you getting all worked up about?” Vihreä asked and snatched the notebook out of her hand. He started laughing and handed it back to her. “He made us have one little kiss, it’s not like he wrote us having sex.”

She blushed. “You would like that wouldn’t you?”

He shrugged and she suddenly wanted to punch him. She handed Ig his notebook and crossed back over to sit between her friends. She crossed her arms over her chest and refused to look at anyone. She actually really liked Vihreä even of he was an exorcist, even if he could be a complete ass. He was incredibly sweet and handsome. She found herself staring at him, making him smile. She could live for that smile. He had been so cold and serious when they had first met, but now he was warm and actually laughing with the others and teasing her.

“Do I have something on my face?” He asked and she glared at him.

“You’re about to have a really nasty bruise.”

“That wouldn’t be so bad. I’ve had worse. I fought a banshee once. They have some serious claws on them. I’d show you the scars, but they’re close to a certain area.”

“How did they get close to a certain area.”

“The crazy spirit was slashing at me like a crazy person and got me really good on my thigh. I almost bled to death that night. If I had not brought one of the villagers with me I might have.” The carriage suddenly jerked to a stop and Susi opened one of the windows and poked her head out.

“Why have we stopped?”

“The bridge is gone ma’am.” Susi got out, closely followed by the others. The bridge that had been across the raging, bubbling cauldron of death called Tiger’s Eye River was gone. With all the rain, the water pressure had increased and the bridge had been washed away.

Susi sighed, she worried about the writer. They were all used to anything the world threw at them but this man just wrote books for a living. “We can’t get through it but if he go right eventually there will be another bridge. It’s going to add a lot of time to our trip regretfully.”

“Oh yeah, you’re talking about that one we found two years ago. That’s not the most secure bridge.”

“It’s safer than trying to get through this.”

“True, do you two have a problem with that idea?” Shiro asked Ig and Vihreä “Not atall” Vihreä responded and Ig nodded his agreement. “I guess my jobs done then?” The driver asked since there wasn’t a path that way. “I guess so sir” Ig said seeming happy about these turn of events. They paid the man then he started back home. “lets get a move on” Susi said and everybody grabbed their portion of what they needed to carry for making camp at night. Susi wondered how well they were accustomed to walking loing distances. She knew her friends would be fine but she didn’t know Ig and Vihreä very well.

Once Shrio began to recognize where they were he began talk of the adventure that caused them to find this abandoned other bridge. It wasn’t used any longer so was just left alone. It would serve their purpose though once they arrived at it. Vihreä worried his pointing out Susi was looking at him in the carriage had made her hate him again. She didn’t glance at him or speak to him atall as they walked.

They had to move into the woods, a very unexplored area. It would be dangerous, especially at night. Vihreä wanted a chance to apologize to Susi for teasing her in front of her friends. They ate and drank as they walked. Susi suddenly motioned for them all to stop and stay silent. He looked slowly around them, spotting a sudden flash of orange fur. A large male tiger stepped out of the thick undergrowth, his amber eyes staring intently at them. Susi’s hand wrapped around the hilt of her sword and Ig stopped her with a hand on her shoulder.

“I certainly hope you don’t plan on killing it.” Ig said with his ever present smile.

“How else would you suggest we get past it?” She asked in an angry whisper.

He sat his bag down then rummaged inside and pulled out a whip. He stood between the tiger and the rest of the group, letting the tip of the long whip fall to the ground. The cat crouched low, its hungry gaze on Ig. It started to pounce and he flicked the whip, the tip hitting the large cat in the face. He swing it around and hit the cat again, moving forward as he did so. “Get out of here cat.” He ordered, hitting it again so it yowled in pain. It finally backed away then turned and ran. “Stupid, stubborn beast.”

“I wasn’t aware you knew how to do anything other than write.” Susi said.

“Oh, while I was going through a serious case of writers block I worked as a lion tamer to make ends meet. I’m just as good with a whip as ai am with a pencil.”

“You are so amazing.” Lily said excitedly.

“I wish I knew how to use a whip.” Shiro said as Ig coiled up his whip and put it in his bag.

“And you guys tease me about Vihreä. You two are practically on your knees worshipping this guy. I mean he’s a cutey, but calm down.” That had everyone laughing, including Susi. “We’re getting close. We’ll make camp once we cross the bridge.”

They made it to the bridge and crossed by sunset. They could have walked further but Susi didn’t want to push them too far and this really was the best place to sleep. They prepared camp and decided to hunt somthing fresh for dinner since they had plenty of time before dark. “I’ll do it” Susi offered. Vihreä quickly stood “Let me help”

“That’s not necessary. Thanks for the offer though.” Ig cleared his throat “Take him incase thieves take you by surprise.”

“I guess that does make sense. Come then” Vihreä would have thanked Ig if he could do it silently. Now he’d get to tell her he was sorry incase she was angry at him. They walked along silently searching. He’d wait until they caught somthing so he wouldn’t scare their dinner away. Susi spotted a wild boar. That would be more than they needed. “You wait here Vihreä. It will be a quick kill” He sat there as she took the boar by surprise and killed it almost instantly. Vihreä was surprised at her speed. His expression was obviously impressed so she said “I like to kill animals I need to eat as fast as I can. I don’t want to make them suffer any longer than they need to. I did so well with this boar so he shouldn’t have felt pain. Atleast i hope he didn’t.”

“Now that we have our meal I wanted to say I’ms orry for teassing you about looking at me.”

“That’s fine, teasing makes the trip more enjoyable. I’ve been over that for a bit now.”

“Ok, I just wanted to be sure.”

“Just help me get this boar back to camp.” He lifted it up and carried it back since she was the one who killed it. Ig prepared and cooked the boar skillfully. Lily and Shrio wanted to tell him how amazing it tasted but realized they had been gushing over him far too much. “Thanks Ig, you’re a great cook” Susi said “you’re welcome. Thank you two for killing it and bringing it back.” What was left they wrapped up and put in a bag to eat at another meal.

“Hey Susi you should sing for us.” Shiro said as they relaxed around the fire.

“You can sing?” Vihreä asked and she blushed.

“A little, I’m not that good.” Susi answered, staring at the fire.

“What, don’t lie. You’re amazing. She sings all the time when we’re up on the mountain. It can be to quiet up there sometimes.” Shiro said and playfully nudged Susi. “Come on, sing for us, sing one of your lullabies.”

“Oh fine, pushy.” She took a deep breath and closed her eyes to keep Vihreä’s face from distracting her. She started singing, her voice a little shaky at first. Vihreä reached over and grabbed her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze and giving her confidence. Everyone watched her in silence, a dreamy look on all of their faces. She finished the song and opened her eyes, blushing at how everyone was looking at her.

“That was beautiful Susi.” Vihreä said and ran his fingers over her cheek. “You should sing for us every night.”

They stared onto each others eyes for what seemed like an eternity. “Oh just kiss already. Might as well give Ig something true to write about.” Lily said and they blushed and Susi glared at her.

“We should get to bed.” Susi replied and stood, grabbing her blankets and laying them out. She tugged off her boots and lay down with her back to everyone.

“I’m sorry Susi.” Lily sounded very sad.

“Don’t worry about it, just go to sleep.”

Everyone got settled in for the night, Ig quickly writing something down before falling asleep. Vihreä stared up at the sky through the tree tops, no longer tired. When everyone was silent except for their soft breathing and occasional mumbling he got up and went over to Susi. He shook her gently and she jerked awake, hand already on her sword. “It’s just me.” He whispered as she sat up.

“Is everything okay?” She asked sleepily.

“Yeah, sorry I just couldn’t sleep.” He sat down in front of her.

“Would you like me to sing to you again?”

He smiled and shook his head. “No, but you could give me something.”

“What exactly?”

He leaned forward so his face was mere inches from hers, his fingers tangling in her hair. “One stupid little kiss.” Her heart slammed against her chest and before she could stop herself she had her arms around his neck and pulled him into her, her lips finding his. She could feel him smiling and it brought her so much joy. She pulled him down to lay next to her, parting their lips and resting her head on his chest. “Thank you.” He whispered.

“Just stay right here okay. They can tease me all they want, but I need you right here. This ground is really hard and I need a pillow.”

Vihreä had never felt so much joy. He just couldn’t resist how much he cared for her and was attracted to her now. He shouldn’t have let himself kiss Susi but there really wasn’t any keeping himself from it any longer. After that kiss he wasn’t sure if he was capable of sending her away once they arrived at their destination. He had kissed many girls since women would just throw themselves at him because of his title but it never felt anything like that atall. It felt almost magical to have his lips touching Susis. His heart was beating out of control with her on his chest. He cautiously put his arms around her locking his fingers so he wouldn’t release Susi in the night. Susi could hear his heart beating violently against his chest but didn’t say anything. It made her feel jubilant. To spite the loud hammering of his heart she fell asleep quickly.

Vihreä soon followed her into the land of sleep.Shiro woke first and saw them sleeping together. He shook Lily hard and pointed. Lily suppressed a giggle and went to wake Ig to show him before they moved and denied the whole thing. Ig smiled widely and took out his paper and pencil. “be quite, don’t wake those two.” Ig said firmly in a whisper. Lily almost instantly fell silent. They cooked the boar from last night to eat this morning. Once it was prepared they packed everything except what Vihreä and Susi were using.

Ig decided they needed to go before they lost too much time. He was happy for them but hoped they would just stay together and stop being foolish. Ig was very observant and could see those two would make a good pair. They were very different but they were different in ways the other could benefit from. Some of the best relationships are between people who are worlds different from eachother. Igs mother and father were like day and night but they had been together since they were merely teenagers.

“Hey,” he said as he kicked Vihreä’s leg, “get your lazy asses up.” Vihreä glared at him and Susi blushed. They got up and quickly packed their blankets. Ig smiled at the look of adoration that past between them. Susi laced her fingers through Vihreä’s as the walked, sending Lily and Shiro into a whispering fit.

“You two quit gabbing. You sound like clucking hens.” Susi said with mock seriousness.

“Hey, I’m all rooster.” Shiro retorted.

“I’m sure Lily would know.” Ig jumped in, his words embarrassing Shiro and Lily. “We all know. You two always stay close together whether you’re walking or sleeping. Your relationship plays a part in my book.”

“That is so cool.” They both said and Vihreä rolled his eyes.

“Don’t slip up.” Susi whispered to him when she saw him slipping back into his old self.

“Sorry, old habits.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “I will always have that part of me. I have a very cold side to me, only you make me warm.” He smiled at her. “Someday you might hate me again.”

“That won’t happen.” They finally broke through the trees and came out on the road. He watched the way ahead, knowing she would hate him once they were in Tillid. Even if he let her stay with him, he knew she would have to witness the darkness in him as he hunted necromancers. He had powerful magic. He could mix both exorcism and necromancy to defeat his foes. He had once locked a demon inside him so he could use it’s strength and speed as his own. Some people didn’t like that he mixed the light and dark arts.

“Anything is possible. You may see something that makes you think twice about whatever kind of relationship we have. I will not blame you if you choose to turn away from me in that moment.”

“Shut up you idiot.” She snapped and everyone looked at her. “I will never turn my back on you. I give you my word as a knight, as a princess, and as someone who is falling in love despite her best efforts not to that I will never turn from you. Even in the darkest of times. Now stop being so negative and walk.”

Vihreä blushed a deep crimson. “You..you’re really falling in love with me?” Susi nodded and he pulled her into a quick, enthusiastic hug. “we need to walk Vihreä she said with a slight giggle.” He let her go but had a firm grip on her hand. If he was holding it any tighter it would have been painful. Ig liked seeing such a cheerful side to Vihreä. Even he hadn’t expected so much happiness from the man he had been traveling with. Lily and Shiro now held hands too since Susi knew. They had been too embarrassed to tell her. Vihreä was so lost in thoughts of Susi he almost forgot where they were going. Without Susi guiding his way he probably would have wandered off.

As night approached them again Susi was shocked how easily they were making their way. It was lucky, especially since walking added so much time to their journey. They went on until the sun was just about to fade. Camp went up, they ate and now it was time to settle for sleep again. Shiro and Lily cuddled up to one another and Vihreä nervously asked “do you want to use me as a pillow again.”

“Yep, you’re on pillow duty until after this is over and you decide what kind of relationship this is.” Vihreä smiled then laid down. The second Susis head was resting on his chest he held her tightly letting out a calm sigh as the aches of his muscles seem to fade just by contact with her. For a second his heart stopped with worry when Susi pulled away from him. She smiled at the look on his face then gave him a breif goodnight kiss before settling herself back down. Ig smiled, it brought him great joy to see new love.

“Please stop.” Her mother screamed, her back arching off the bed as the exorcist tried to pull the spirit from her. Susi didn’t know what to do. She just cried and held her mother’s hand. She wished her father would do something to make her mother’s pain go away. Her mother screamed again, blood soaking into her hair and covering her face. Her mother suddenly went limp, the light fading from her eyes. She managed to smile at Susi one last time before it was extinguished.

“Mom,” she shook her mother, “no please wake up mom.” She cried harder as she clung to her mother’s body. “Please, please come back.”

Vihreä woke to Susi gripping his shirt and crying. She let out a wail that nearly tore him to pieces. “Susi, wake up.” He said as he shook her. “Wake up.” Her eyes snapped open and looked at him with so much sorrow. She clamped her hand over her mouth and tore out of his arms, running away from the camp to throw up. She fell to her knees, sobs wracking her body. He came up slowly behind her with a cup of water. He handed it to her then lifted her off the ground and carried her back to where they had been sleep. He sat down, cradling her in his lap as she drank the whole cup and cried. “What was it about?” He asked and rained feather light kisses over her cheek.

“The day my mother died. I failed to protect her.” She whispered.

“No you didn’t, you were just a child. You shouldn’t have been in the room. What was your father thinking allowing an amateur to perform an exorcism? Idiot.”

“He just wanted to help her, but he could have stopped the exorcist when she asked. He just stood there. Maybe he was in shock, I don’t know.”

“I’m so sorry.” He held her tightly to him, his hand stroking her arm. “You should go back to sleep Susi.”

“I can’t, I’m afraid of having another nightmare.”

“I’ll hold you until the sun comes up. I’ll be right here to wake you.” He tipped her head back and kissed her softly. He pulled back and wrapped his cloak around both of them. She was so warm compared to him. “Sleep now sweet princess.” He smiled and kissed her one more time before she settled her head on his shoulder.

Chapter Four

Vihreä felt shame again for what the other exorcist had done. He hoped he could someday meet the horrible person who would kill Susis mother without thought. He knew when her nose and ears were bleeding that he needed to stop. Even a beginner would have known to stop. He’d find him one day and drag him through hell. He’d ask the king when he got the chance if he knew the name of the exorcist. He couldn’t put Susi through trying to remember it. If the king didn’t know he’d figure it out any way he could. Shame turned to anger as he looked down on Susis sleeping face.

It was still so sad and upset. Vihreä would hate finding out how often she had these nightmares about her mother. He’d be there for her when she had them. He’d stay up all night when she did so he could comfort her when she woke up crying. Vihreä calmed as he continued to gaze at Susis beautiful face. Everything about her was absolutely remarkable. Vihreä was glad he managed to fix things between them since he started out being such an asshole.

When morning came he was completely lost in her resting face. She woke and to his relief gave him a smile. “You really did stay up all night”

“Of course I did. I’ll stay up all night to make sure I’m there for you whenever you have nightmares about your mom.” Susi pulled him into another kiss “You’re sweeter than you think you are Vihreä”

“For you I am. Thank you so much for forgiving me and allowing us to be close like this.”

Susi rolled up blankets while everyone else ate. She had lost her appetite after her nightmare. When everyone had finished eating they started out again, going at a fast steady pace. Vihreä couldn’t help but notice how sad Susi’s eyes looked and she was frowning the entire time they walked. He reached over and took her hand, giving it a small squeeze. A small smile tugged at her lips and knew she was going to be okay, that she just needed some time.

“How much farther do we have to go?” Ig asked as they climbed up a hill.

“If we keep going at this pace we should reach Tillid the day after tomorrow. I pushed the carriage pretty hard while I was driving so that took a lot of time off of our journey. We can probably walk on through the night if the rain stays away.” Susi answered.

“We can keep going even if it rains.” Vihreä chimed in.

“You and Ig would freeze to death.”

“We’ll be fine and besides if I get cold, I’ll just carry you so I can absorb your body heat. You’re always so warm.”

“I told you we knights don’t feel the cold. We only make a fire for you and Ig. I guess if the weather turns sour Ig can just cuddle with Lily and Shiro. They have a big enough crush on him that I’m sure they wouldn’t mind be all up close to their biggest hero.” She looked at her friends and they both turned red. Vihreä and Ig started laughing, making the two young knights even more embarrassed. They walked on, only stopping for a brief moment to catch their breath. As noon rolled around the sound of hooves broke the silence. They all froze, the knights grabbing their swords and Ig grabbing his whip. A cart being pulled by a team of four horses came over the little hill before them. Susi waved the man down.

“Excuse me sir, but the bridge is out. You won’t be able to make it across.” She said with a smile.

“Damn, this rain is getting ridiculous. Sorry, where are my manners, my name’s Arch.” He replied and they shook hands.

“I Susi, of you are planning on turning around could you give us a lift?”

“I don’t see why not, the company is always welcome. Hop on in and we’ll get going.”

“There will be compensation of course.”

He waved her off. “Nonsense, you told me about the bridge instead of just letting me drive by. That’s payment enough.”

Ig and Vihreä were happy to be sitting. Vihreä was especially happy to see Susi looking a lot happier. She still didn’t seem like herself but she was getting better. He sat as close to her as possible then pulled her hand into his lap holding it between his two hands. Susi smiled happily making Vihreä sure his heart was no longer a solid form but a liquid rushing down across his insides. “what brings you this way?”

“we’re escorting this exorcist and a writer who have business in Tiilin”

“You seem like more than an escort to this young man.” Susi smiled then Arch asked “What’s all your names?”

“You know mine, the man holding my hand is Vihreä. The girl is Lily, The male knight is Shiro and the writer is Ig.”

“Nice to meet you all”

“It’s very nice to meet you.” Vihreä was now feeling a little jealous over the smiles and chatter between Susi and Arch. As a duke he was used to everybody focusing on him. He tried not to let it show though. Especially after the night Susi had she didn’t need him behaving like a child. Especially not when this man was helping them out. It just bothered him that all his questions were pointed at Susi and nobody else. Eventually Lily pushed her way into the conversation and began asking Arch questions about his life. Vihreä could have given her a hug right then.

A little ways down the road Susi laid her head on Vihreä shoulder and sighed. He smiled then laid his head on hers. Ig smiled and the driver kept talking to Lily and Shiro. They were an endless stream of questions though not as bad as they had been with Ig at first. Ig began to scribble in his book again. He had a big grin as he wrote making Susi wonder what crazy things he was saying happened now that he had seen them sleeping together. He chuckled a little and Susi was tempted to snatch his papers from him and read what he was writing down but instead just closed her eyes so she could relax against Vihreä.

“Susi, wake up.” She jerked up right and looked around. Arch had stopped in some village. She was pretty sure this was Vancaster, but it had been ages since she had seen it so she wasn’t sure.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to fall asleep.” She rubbed her eyes and then turned her attention to Arch. “Is this Vancaster?” She asked.

“No ma’am this is Lennox. We passed through Vancaster last night.” He answered warmly.

“Holy crap, I slept way to long.”

“Don’t worry about it, besides you seemed a bit out of sorts anyway.”

“Thank you for the ride. We can probably walk from here.” She stretched her arms and then hopped out of the cart.

“Are you sure, because I can take you all the way.”

“You’ve done enough for us, thank you. You and your horses are probably exhausted. Tillid is only half a day from here. You saved us a lot of time.” Arch blushed and Vihreä couldn’t help but feel that stab of jealousy. The way this man looked at her, so adoringly, it irritated him. He actually balled his hands into fists, his jaw clenching so hard that it made his teeth hurt.

“Alright, if you say. I should be here for a few days, so if you need a ride back to wherever please come and find me at the inn.” She told his good bye and then they continued on their way. Half a day and they would be in Tillid. She noticed that Vihreä had a very grim look on his face and pulled him to a stop.

“Are you okay?” She asked perplexed.

“Perfectly fine.” He sounded upset.

“Hey, don’t get snippy with me you ass. I was just concerned.” He looked away from her. “Fine, go ahead and brood you stupid jerk.” She started to walk away and he grabbed her hand, pulling her back and hugging her.

“Sorry, I got jealous of that man.” He said softly. She pulled back and rolled her eyes then slapped him in the back of the head. “What was that for?”

“For being an idiot. Jealous? Really? I’ve already told you I’m falling for you, that I would stick by you always, and then you go and spout this nonsense. Men are so stupid, just dumb cave men.” She glared up at him and he started laughing. He pressed his forehead against hers and then kissed her making her heart skip a beat.

“I don’t know why I wouldn’t expect men to fawn over you. You are so beautiful. I’ll do my best not to get jealous again.”

“Good, because next time I’ll punch you.”

He had a lot to improve for Susi but he was going to try as hard as he could. He knew he could be a spoiled, selfish brat which is why he didn’t say anything before. “I’d rather be introduced as your boyfriend Susi. Before you said this man when telling him my name. Could you call me your boyfriend?” Lily surpressed a giggle but Susi still glared at her. She knew Lily too well not to catch that. “As long as you introduce me as your girlfriend you’ve got a deal” He smiled then brought her hand to his mouth to kiss it. “I love you Susi and I’ll work on not being such an idiot” Susi blushed at his words. Vihreä was now sure he loved Susi from how he felt earlier.

He wanted to hear her say it back but also wanted to give her time to. It was enough she was falling for him atall. Vihreä just enjoyed having his hand laced with Susis as they walked down the road to Tillid. When their stomachs began to grumble they pulled apples out of their bags and ate as they walked so they could get this journey over with and go home. Susi began to hum without noticing then Lily said “sing Susi! Your voice is too beautiful to just hum!”

“Please” Vihreä added. Susi smiled then said “Ok” before starting over the song she had been humming.  Everybody seemed to be enjoying it so much she sang song after song until her voice began to tire. “Thank you” Vihreä said when she stopped. “I’m glad you enjoy it”

“everybody enjoys your singing Susi” Shiro said. Ig and Lily nodded in agreement. It wasn’t too much longer before they could tell Tillid was coming up on them. Vihreä hoped what he did here wouldn’t upset Susi. She said she’d stay with him no matter what but that didn’t mean he coudln’t upset her or cause another nightmare. Peoples lives were too important to hold back though. He’d just make sure the job got done as quickly as possible.

“The city of Tillid. Good thing it’s not overly large.” Susi said sarcastically as they walked up to the front gate. There were two guards there and they commanded them to halt. “I Princess Susi Dubh and the King’s First Knight. We have come to hunt the necromancers that are plaguing this city.”

“Yes ma’am, forgive us in delaying you.” They yelled for the gate to be opened and Susi lead the others inside.

“Your name really gets you what you want.” Vihreä said.

“I don’t use my title very often, but when there is something important to do it helps. Anyway, where are these necromancers supposed to be?”

“I don’t know yet, but I will.” He reached into his bag and pulled out a necklace. It had a round silver medallion on it. He slipped it around his neck and pressed his palms together at heart level. He closed his eyes and started whispering. The medallion started glowing a bright blue and he opened his eyes. She gasped when she saw that they were black. Her hand fluttered to her chest, her heart beating out a fearful rhythm. She reached out, allowing her fingers to drift over his cheek. He leaned into her touch, showing her that it was still him. “I have a demon’s soul bound to this amulet. I’m going to use his nose to find my prey.” The way he said the word prey frightened her. “I have to warn you about something before we go.” He said softly. “Sometimes this demon gets really pissed and he may try to take me over completely. If that happens you must leave me or kill me.”

“I will never turn away from you, I told you that so get it through your thick skull.”

“Susi.”

“Shut up right now. I won’t leave no matter what and that’s final. Now lead on, use that nose and get us to these necromancers.”

Vihreä didn’t have time to argue with her. She had a will of iron, her devotion was unconditional. He moved down the city streets, allowing the demon to take over enough to lead him. Necromancers had a certain smell. One of blood and death and decay. They smelled of rotting corpses since they spent so much time digging up bodies. He could taste them, their sickness giving him a euphoric feeling. He shook his head, that was the demon’s thoughts. The monster sealed in the necklace around his neck got off on causing pain and loved the scent of the necromancers.

Susi wasn’t holding Vihreäs hand any longer but was walking closely by his side as he walked. The scent was strong so he was walking at a face and determined pace. He was mainly walking so fast so he could quit using the demon as soon as possible. He didn’t want anything to go wrong the first time she came with him on something like this. Shiro and Lily seemed more nervous than Susi was. Susi just seemed concentrated while they now walked a little bit further away from Vihreä. Ig was writing again as they walked. He wrote while walking all the time and rarely bumped into anyone. He had to scribble his thoughts down because sometimes if he waited until later he couldn’t recall what he thought about before.

Vihreä stopped, seeming to think for a moment. This was obviously a high trafficked area but he grabbed a good hold on the scent again. He shook his head again when he began to enjoy the scent. Soon it seemed to be getting thicker so he knew they were close to where they were. He hated the thought of her being right there as he got rid of them but knew she wouldn’t leave him for any reason. He wouldn’t be surprised if Shiro and Lily ended up running away. Ig so far seemed fearless and wanted good stuff for his book so would probably stay to get as much detail as possible.

Ig actually seemed to be getting more excited along the way. He couldn’t really tell what Susi was thinking. She just seemed concentrated. They now were getting into a less busy part of Tillid. It wasn’t too surprising since they doubted the necromancers would be doing their deeds for all to see. Susi felt bad for being a little distant and grabbed Vihreäs hand. He felt a wave of relaxation wash through him. Vihreä was happy Susi wasn’t scared he’d hurt her.

He suddenly stopped in front of an old well. He stuck his head in and inhaled deeply. They were underground, hiding like rats. “We have to go down.” He said, his voice came out as a growl and he cleared his throat and forced the demon down.

“Shiro and Lily I want you to go and alert the captain of the guard what we are doing. I want him and some of his men waiting to pull us out when the time comes. Make sure to give them your rank as well as mine. Ig, you and I are going down with Vihreä.” Susi said.

“Yes ma’am.” Ig said and saluted her.

“Susi, are you sure?” Lily said softly, her eyes moving to Vihreä and then back to Susi.

“Yes, I’m sure. Don’t worry.” She hugged her friends and then looked in the well. There were metal rungs imbedded in the inner wall, a ladder. “Lead the way Vihreä.”

Vihreä climbed down quickly with Susi following and then Ig. It was extremely dark and damp. He felt Susi grab his hand and then heard her reach back and grab ahold of Ig. He could see perfectly in the darkness and lead them into a tunnel. The smell of the necromancers was so much stronger. It was almost overwhelming and had his heart beating overly fast. He licked his lips, wanting to taste them. His tongue slid over his teeth, his canines had grown into sharp points. He squeezed Susi’s hand, trying to draw strength from her presence. The tunnel widened out a little and Susi was able to let go of Ig when they came upon sconces with lit torches in them.

“They’re so close Susi, I swear I can hear their hearts beating.” He whispered.

“How many do you think are in here?” She asked, brushing her thumb over his hand. She could tell he was struggling.

“Maybe ten. They may try to summon something to help them so please be careful. They use magic that can easily extinguish life, don’t let it touch you.” The tunnel widened out to a cave and they stopped when they saw the necromancers in a circle around an altar. Strapped down on it and gagged was a young woman, completely nude and making terrified sounds. “She’s a sacrifice to whatever spirit or demon they worship.”

“We have to get down there.” Ig said, finally closing his book and putting it away.

Susi drew her sword, unwilling to wait to see what would happen to this poor woman. She screamed at them and they all turned their heads to her. She jumped off the ledge and into their midst, pointing her sword at one of the pale faced figures. “Now you will suffer.” She said angrily as Vihreä and Ig jumped down after her.

Vihreäs heart was pounding even harder now. He knew Susi was strong and brave but didn’t expect her just to jump at a group of necromancers when he just warned her about how dangerous they were and how easily they could kill her. Susi simply didn’t care. She couldn’t stand idly by while they hurt that terrified woman. It was her duty as First Knight to help her as fast as she could. She had to help that woman even at the cost of her own life if that’s what it came down to. It was what all knights lived by. Atleast the ones that were respectable atall.

She ran at the intensely angry man. She had disrupted their offering and they’d have to start over once they rid themselves of these pests that had wandered in. Before he could finish the sentence he began chanting Susi chopped off his head. Suddenly she was jerked back by Vihreä who hoped to get their angry attention on him. He couldnt’ bare if they killed her and she had just pissed them off very badly.

Igs eyes were wide with both fear and great interest. He was impressing Susi being able to follow them like this atall. Her fellow knight Lily and Shiro were scared while this writer was only just now showing any fear at the situation they were in. Even still, his eyes may be showing fear but everything else about him seemed ready to fight if he needed to. His hand was poised to easily grab his whip and use it.

Susi landed on her bottom with a grunt. She glared at Vihreä and jumped to her feet. “Ig to the right, push them back.” She ordered and the writer grabbed his whip, snapping it at the necromancers. Susi rushed another one as he summoned a wraith. She completely disregarded the spirit, dodging around it as it reached for her. She ran the necromancer through, his scream reverberating throughout the cavern. The wraith came at her like a mad man, still programmed to kill her. She could feel an unnatural coldness flowing off of it and she actually shivered. She heard shuffling noises behind her and turned to see two zombies shambling towards her. The zombies she could handle, but the wraith terrified her.

Vihreä used his own necromancer powers to summon his own dark spirits as he tore through the zombies to get at the necromancers. They cast a black fire at him that crawled over his skin, but did not hurt him because of the demon amulet. He pounced on one of them, tearing his throat out before going to the next one. They screamed and scattered, exciting he demon. He moved so fast that their eyes couldn’t even follow him. He ripped them open, slammed his fist through the chest of one and ripped out her heart. He heard dark, ominous laughter and realized it was coming from him. The last necromancer had fallen to the ground and was crab walking backwards as he cried and begged for his life.

Susi killed the zombies and now faced the wraith. Her heart was beating so fast, sweat dotted her forehead and she was actually shaking. She felt an incredible sense of hopelessness. The wraith reached for her and she slashed at it, her sword passing straight through. It backed her into a corner, its pale hands reaching for her. It wrapped the fingers of one hand around her throat and lifted her off the ground. It pressed the other hand to her chest and she felt an icy coldness moving through her. It was a painful sensation that seemed to suck the air right out of her lungs. She wanted to scream in agony, tears ran down her cheeks. Ig was preoccupied with a large group of zombies and couldn’t get to her. She shifted her gaze to Vihreä, shocked to see the corpses of the necromancers torn to pieces. He was standing over one of them, tormenting the terrified man.

“Vihreä please come back to me.” She managed to say. “Please, I love you so much.” She felt herself growing weaker, her body getting colder as the wraith pulled the very life from her.

He froze at that voice even as the demon drove him to cut the last man open and drink from him. He shook his head, knowing this wasn’t him. That voice, so desperate and terrified broke through the red haze, cleared away the fogginess. He turned away from the necromancer to that wonderful voice. Susi was in trouble, her life force was slipping away and into that creature. It was touching her, his woman. He ripped the necklace from around his neck, the demon pulled from him and back into the amulet. He closed his eyes and started chanting, his voice loud and authoritative. He called to the wraith and zombies, commanded them to bend to his will and to move out of this world. The zombies froze and the wraith turned its attention away from Susi, dropping her on the ground. Dark spirits left the bodies of the zombies and he immediately sent them away. The wraith was harder, trying t fight him, but he would have none of it. He chanted faster, louder until the creature was screaming. A dark hole opened in the floor of the cave and dark tendrils flowed up and grabbed the wraith, pulling it down to hell. He rushed to Susi who was pale, her skin cold and had no pulse. He could bring her back, he had to.

Chapter Five

Her soul had only just left so he could call it back if he acted quickly. He flipped in his book to the page he need. He spoke his words clearly and carefully. He wanted to hurry but didn’t want to mess up and ruin his chance of getting her back just as she was. Vihreä could feel it working as it drained him of nearly all his energy. Color began to come back to her skin then she took a sharp enhale before gasping in deep breaths of air. Susi felt horrible and weak. Vihreä finished reading to be sure, with this he couldn’t afford any mistakes. Not with his Susi. Vihreä didn’t have much energy in him but he picked up Susi. Ig came over “give her to me Vihreä. You can’t carry her in your current state. You’ve used up so much energy you’ll barely be able to carry yourself.”

Vihreä knew Ig was right and handed his still rapid breathing and cold Susi. She wasn’t accustomed to being cold or feeling this weak. Susi also found herself feeling extreamly dissoriented. Shiro and Lily were waiting with the captain of the guard and his men. As Ig and Vihreä were trying to figure out what to do she came to her senses enough to remember the situation she was in and pulled a whistle out of her pocket. Ig and Vihreä hadn’t been looking at her so the noise made them jump.

Noise traveled fast down there since it was all tunnels so it hit Shiros and Lilys ears quickly. They told the men Susi was calling and they went in to help them get out. Vihreä tried to go over to help the tied down woman but she seemed just as scared of him as she was her captors. “I can stand” Susi said “go get her instead of Vihreä. The guard and his men are coming soon” Ig grunted, he worried she might fall over but put her down. Vihreä quickly came back over and wrapped his arms around Susi. “I’m sorry Susi.”

“Don’t be, you came back to me when I called you.”

“I shouldn’t have gotten so lost in the demon”

“Shhh, you did fine. I’m not dead and we saved that girl so it was all a success”

“You were breifly dead though which is just as bad. There was a very breif window for me to bring you back in”

“and you did it so hush before I slap you”

He wished he could be happy, but the guilt of letting her down overwhelmed him and he slipped into a deep melancholy as Shiro, Lily and a few guards came running into the cave. Two of the guard hauled the remaining necromancer to his feet. The man was whimpering and mumbling, his eyes full of terror as he was pulled past Vihreä. Susi’s legs shook and he lifted her into his arms. He looked tormented and exhausted, his face pale. She shivered, holding herself tighter to him. He carried her back to the well, waiting patiently as everyone was else was pulled up by a rope. They tossed it back down the hole and he lowered her to her feet, keeping one are wrapped around her waist. He put his foot in the noose at the end and gripped the rope with his free hand. They were pulled up and then helped out by Lily and Shiro.

“Excuse me sir, do you know where a good inn is?” Susi asked the Captain.

“Yes princess,” he replied and called one of the other soldiers over, “please take the princess and her companions to the Amber Rock Inn.” The other soldier bowed and gestured for them to follow him. They walked in silence, exhausted and dirty. The sun was already down and rain clouds partially obscured the moon. The heavens opened up as they made it to the front steps of the inn. Susi thanked the soldier and they hurried inside. She paid for three rooms and asked for everyone to be left alone in the morning. She grabbed Vihreä’s hand and pulled him to their room. She closed and locked the door and he sat down on the bed. She crossed over to him, sitting down next to him.

“Please look at me.” She said softly and his eyes moved slowly to her face. There were tears shimmering there and she tangled her fingers in his hair, pulling him close and kissing him. His lip quivered and his tears spilled over. He rested his forehead against her shoulder and cried. She rubbed her hand up and down his back, massaged his neck and told him how much she loved him. He wrapped his arms around her waist, his sobs tearing at her. “Talk about it, you’ll feel better.”

“I almost got you killed using that stupid necklace. The demon was out of control, feeding off of my emotions. He was hungry for those men and women. He’s never pushed me so far into the darkness. It wasn’t just hunger, it was lust, disgusting and disturbing lust. It cost you your life.” He said through his sobs.

“You brought me back. I’m alive and safe with you. I just can’t seem to get warm. I’ve never been cold.”

“It’s only temporary, you should be fine by morning. Wraiths pull the life from you and with life comes warmth.” He kissed her neck. “I never want to go through that again, but the demon is my only way of sniffing out spirits and necromancers and other demons. I don’t know what to do.” She hated how broken he sounded.

“That’s not somthing we have to worry about right at this moment. Can we take a hot shower and then cuddle under the blankets?”

“Mhm” he said with tears still falling. Each drop that hit her shoulder was pulling at her heart. Susi tried to stand but he held her shoulders “I’ll run it, I’m why you’re so cold. Let me do it please”

“we can walk in there together”

“Ok”

“Please stop being so sad Vihreä. We all ended up ok and I’ll be warm in the morning.”

“I love you so much. I’ve never loved another person like this before. It was heart wrenching to see you laying like that. I can’t believe you’re really sticking by me after I let you die”

“Vihreä, you didn’t let anything happen.” Susi kissed him again “I love you too. You shouldn’t be so sad when I’m ok. Lets shower and get somthing in our stomachs from room service before we cuddle.” Susi and Vihreä stripped in the bathroom then got the water running. When Vihreä turned to tell her she could get in he became frozen and unable to speak. Susi blushed then snapped “I’m really cold so we should get in”

“Sorry” he said then moved aside. She got in and he followed. Susis naked body looked so perfect to him it was almost like she was a painted work of art. He would have gotten excited if he wasn’t so sad. The wrenching of his heart after what happened prevented him from jumping up to spite how amazingly attractive Susi was. In complete awe he watched Susi wash then she pulled him into the water. “You need to wash too. Have I dumfounded you that much?” A small smile appeared on Vihreäs face. “There we go. I miss that smile”

“You look so incredible Susi”

“I could tell by your initial reaction.” Susi said then kissed him “ill get out so you can function enough to clean yourself. I really need to lay down anyway and I’m sure you’re also not far from collapsing.”

“Ok, I’ll hurry” His voice was still sad but atleast came out clear and didn’t crack any longer. Susi called room service and ordered them somthing to eat. She wasn’t hungry and was sure he wasn’t but she thought it would probably be better if they ate before going to sleep. Vihreä was just drying off as room service knocked on their door. Susi had already slipped her clothes on. She took it and thanked the man before shutting the door and removing her clothes again. It was nice not to be weighed down by them.

“Something smells delicious.” Vihreä said as he walked out of the bathroom. She looked him over, biting at her lower lip. “Hey, wake up.”

“Hmm sorry. I ordered soup please sit.” He plopped down next to her and she handed him his bowl.

“I must be pretty good looking. Please eat what’s on your spoon before you drop hot soup on yourself.”

She looked at her spoon and realized he was right. She was just holding it there. She quickly took a bite and looked away. It was the only way she was going to be able to eat. He was far to handsome, his hair falling around his shoulders and his eyes glowing with amusement. She finished eating and sat her bowl down, wrapping herself in the blanket as she started to shiver again. “I hate that I can’t get warm.” She said angrily. “Stupid wraith.”

“Let me hold you.” He said as he sat his bowl in hers. He leaned back against the headboard and opened his arms. She lay between his legs, her head resting on his chest and closing her eyes. She sighed happily, the sound exciting him. Heat rushed to his groin and he shifted uncomfortably. Her eyes flew open and she looked up at him. “Sorry, I can’t help it.”

“It’s okay.” She kissed his chest as she shifted to her hands and knees. She kissed down and over his abdomen then lower to slide her tongue over his hardness. He moaned as she swirled her tongue around his tip and then took him into her hot mouth. She sucked and he tangled his fingers in her hair, thrusting upward into her mouth. He leaned forward, sliding his other hand over her back and then around to her front to rub his fingers against her. He leaned back and pulled her up by her hair. She gave a disappointed little sound that he found both adorable and arousing. He pulled her onto his lap so she was straddling him, his lips finding hers as he thrust into her. Her loud moans and whimpers filled the room as she rode him, her fingers gripping his shoulders. He sucked and bit at her breasts, his tongue sliding up to her earlobe. “I love you.” She gasped.

“I love you too.” He tipped her back onto the bed, his fingers lacing with hers. He pinned her hands above her head and stared into her beautiful eyes, watching the emotion playing through them. There was so much love and understanding shining up at him. He thrust into her faster and her back arched off the bed as an orgasm moved through her, her insides squeezing him until he couldn’t hold on any longer. He spilled himself into her tight heat, his loud cry mingling with hers. He pressed his forehead against hers, supporting his weight on his elbows. He kissed her softly, his tongue dancing with hers. He pulled back, leaving her gasping for air. “Warm yet?” He asked with a satisfied smile. She shook her head, unable to speak. “We have all night to get your temperature back to normal. I hope you’re okay with being to tired to move.”

“we’ll need to travel tomorrow.” She said weakly.  “I’ll hire a carriage to carry us as far as possible.” He leaned down and started kissing her again. He loved the rush of tingles it gave him to kiss her. He couldn’t get enough of what it felt like to make love to her. They made love until they were both too spent to keep going. Both were unsure how they got the energy to have sex to begin with after all they went through. As Vihreä held Susi his guilt tried to come back but he pushed it down. Susi said everything was ok so he would be happy for her and not mope. That was easier said than done but he managed. They laid intertwined as he randomly kissed Susis head.

Sleep kept trying to overcome him but he didn’t want to lose to it yet. She was so beautiful and amazing to look at. Everything felt perfect holding Susi close. When Susi fell asleep the lullaby of her breathing made it to where he couldn’t fight it any longer. He succumed to the bliss of sleeping with Susi in his arms. He didn’t deserve her but he was overjoyed that she was his and that she still wanted a future together after the events of that day.

~ The End ~

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