The gangly, curly haired youth bursting through Violetâ€™s door nearly made her drop her book. She glared at the boy, telling him with her eyes that it was more than a bit rude to walk into a house uninvited and to do it in a way that nearly knocked pictures off the wall was even more reprehensible. The look took him by such surprise that he seemed to forget what he had been going to say and stood there frozen for a moment opening and closing his mouth like a fish on the bank of a pond.
Violet marked her place, closed her book, then took a deep breath to calm herself. â€śCan I help you?â€ť She asked and he seemed to snap out of his sudden daze.
â€śUh, maâ€™amâ€¦yes maâ€™am, sorry.â€ť He collected his thoughts, wheels turning as he put words together to form a full sentence. â€śA dragon maâ€™am, there is a dragon and the mayor asked me to get you.â€ť
She sighed, putting her book irritably down on the coffee table. â€śOf course he did.â€ť
â€śSorry Miss Violet, so sorry.â€ť He bowed and then bowed again.
â€śOh stop, how annoying, do I look like a princess to you?â€ť She stood, straightening her dress. No, she thought as she moved around the coffee table to the coat closet, rather I look like someone took a witch and a librarian and mashed them together.
â€śNo maâ€™am, sorry maâ€™am.â€ť
She rolled her eyes. It was hopeless after all. She yanked open the door and pulled out her cloak and boots, shaking them both out before putting them on. â€śCome on then.â€ť She walked past the young man and he quickly followed, head down. â€śOh stop moping, I shouldnâ€™t have snapped at the messenger.â€ť
â€śYes Miss Violet.â€ť
â€śWhere is this dragon then?â€ť
â€śOutside of town maâ€™am, in that old cave maâ€™am.â€ť
She walked on, ignoring the turning heads and whispered words of â€śDo you think the witch is gonnaâ€¦â€ť and made her way out of town and over rolling hills to the now occupied cave. She knew it was occupied because she could hear the breathing of the beast and noticed faint smears of blood here and there.
â€śWhat are you going to do maâ€™am? Turn him into a toad? Kill him?â€ť
â€śHow absolutely barbarous.â€ť She said and picked up a large rock. When would they learn that she had as much magic as a thimble, unless the thimble had been enchanted, then that was a whole other story. She pulled back and threw the stone as hard as she could into the cave, hearing it make contact with something and then the breathing stopped. The boy cowered behind her as a roar echoed out from the cave, the ground shook dramatically and a red wedge shaped head detached itself from the darkness soon followed by a large scaled body.
â€śOh shut up you annoying thing.â€ť She snapped and the creature shut its mouth, seeming shocked. â€śNow go on and get.â€ť It lowered its head and started to open its mouth when she slapped the tip of its nose. It drew back, shaking its head. â€śI donâ€™t think so you very bad dragon. Go! Now! Find another place of residence and stop scaring the villagers. They come to me when things like you turn up and it can be quite nerve racking so go on, find sheep or cows elsewhere.â€ť It opened its mouth again as if to protest and she planted her hands on her hips, glaring at it with death in her eyes. Its jaws shut and it launched itself into the sky, kicking up dust and knocking the young messenger boy over with the force of its wind. â€śThere, now someone else can deal with him.â€ť
The messenger looked in awe of her and she sighed. No matter how often they saw her handle things without any magic at all they still thought her a mystical being. If the others were braver they could handle these situations too. Violet walked away, happy she was successful again and not that dragons snack. Violet hoped that maybe she could finally finish this book when she arrived home. Maybe this town and the magical creatures around it could afford her the hours needed because she was incredibly into this book. Once inside her shoes were off again and she lifted her book before settling back into her chair. She was instantly taken right back in, not coming back to reality at all until she closed it.
Upon looking up she noticed it was night and smiled thinking this was the perfect time to get a walk in. The sky would be gorgeous and the villagers would all be resting. Gleefully she set her book back down and slipped back into her cloak and boots before going off into the cool night air.
It was always so peaceful at night, as if the countryside itself decided to relax. She breathed in deeply and let her breath out in a sigh. Even with all the trouble, she still loved it here. The road branched and she turned off onto the left path just as someone came tumbling out of the woods and into her. â€śSorry.â€ť He said, grabbing her to steady her. â€śAre you alright?â€ť
It took her a moment to regain her equilibrium, but when she did, she looked up at him. He was tall, really tall and his eyes were a shocking shade of blue. â€śUhâ€¦yeahâ€¦uhâ€¦â€ť
His head suddenly jerked up and he looked at the woods then back down at her, his eyes searching hers for a moment. He then lifted her hand and smiled at her. â€śHold onto this for me.â€ť He let her go and took off running.
â€śWait, who are you?â€ť
â€śDian,â€ť he called back, â€śbe sure to tell them where I went.â€ť
â€śWhat?â€ť She was confused and it took her a moment to realize she was holding something. She opened her palm, studying the silver medallion that rested there. It had beautiful, intricate designs carved into it inlaid with blue and gold. She had never seen anything like it before. The sound of snapping twigs pulled her back to reality and she turned to face the woods, her hand sliding into the pocket of her cloak as three more men came stumbling out of the woods.
Violet wondered what problem she had gotten herself involved in now but she wasnâ€™t worried, even as she realized how tall these men also were. She faced down dragons, trolls and many more much more formidable creatures than simple men. â€śHas anybody else run by?â€ť a man with red hair and incredibly intense green eyes asked. She didnâ€™t skip a beat answering â€śNo, I have been out here awhile clearing my head and havenâ€™t seen a soul until you three.â€ť Violet didnâ€™t know who the unsavory party was yet but going by gut feeling she trusted the man who had given her medallion.
The man looked at her a short while, long enough for her to take in more of his face. He had light scars but they werenâ€™t unattractive. In fact they probably served to get more women in his bed â€śYou wouldnâ€™t lie to me would you?â€ť
â€śWhy would I? I donâ€™t know you so Iâ€™m certain I donâ€™t know who else youâ€™re looking for. Iâ€™d like to be left aloneâ€ť
â€śwe donâ€™t have time to waste, if the broad says she ain’t seen him she ain’t seen himâ€ť the man to his left said. The word ain’t almost physically hurt to hear but while she wasnâ€™t scared of them she still didnâ€™t want to piss them off by correcting anyone. The men left her and she was glad to see they didnâ€™t go the same way Dian had. Medallion in pocket she resumed her walk, knowing if she went home now sheâ€™d only pace anyway.
She turned back around when she reached the end of her walk, her eyes and ears open, listening for anyone approaching. When her home came into view, she was surprised to find that there was a soft orange light coming from inside. From the way it danced, she was sure it was from the fireplace. Someone was in her home. She approached as quietly as she could, moving around the back of the house and grabbing the wood ax propped against the wall there. She knew it wasnâ€™t one of the villagers, they would have just left. She moved over to the back door, being careful not to stomp on the back porch. She gripped the door handle and pushed it slowly, glad when it didnâ€™t squeak. She listened, not hearing anything but the crackling of the fire. She gripped the ax as she stepped in and gently closed the door.
She readied herself as she came closer to the living room, the ax pulled back, ready to strike if someone attacked her. She froze when she saw him, Dian, sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace. He gave her an exhausted smile. â€śYouâ€™re safe, thatâ€™s good.â€ť He said.
She lowered the ax. â€śYouâ€¦how did you find my house?â€ť
â€śItâ€™s a gift.â€ť He pushed himself to his feet. â€śI hope you donâ€™t mind me resting here.â€ť He crossed over to her. â€śMay I have it back please?â€ť
She moved the ax to her other hand then reached into her pocket and pulled it out. â€śTell me why those men were after you.â€ť
â€śI stole this.â€ť
His amused smile at her questions lit up his eyes. â€śBecause Iâ€™m looking for the rightful heir to the throne.â€ť
â€śIf itâ€™s so important why did you hand it off to me? They could have taken itâ€ť His smile lifted a little again â€śI knew you were too intelligent and brave for them to figure out you had it. I was worried they would catch up so handing it to you was the safest thing to doâ€ť
â€śBut you donâ€™t know meâ€ť
â€śIf you sit with me by your fire I will explain everything and answer any follow up questionsâ€ť His stomach growled and she said â€śMaybe I should feed you first. I have some leftovers that will be quick to heat upâ€ť
â€śThank youâ€ť He began explaining as she heated up food. He was exhausted, would have been able to fall asleep that second if he laid down but he wanted to explain everything to her. Even if he didnâ€™t want to explain she had given him a place to rest and helped him by hiding the amulet, he owed her an explanation. â€śso youâ€™re descended from a powerful witch and you read my mind earlier which is how you knew you could trust meâ€ť
â€śYes but donâ€™t worry, I have to be touching you to do itâ€ť she shrugged â€śNot worried, I donâ€™t have much to hide and nothing really embarrasses meâ€ť He looked so amused again â€śHow are you so cheerful when youâ€™re being chased and have such a big job to doâ€ť
â€śI enjoy every moment of life, always have and Iâ€™m enjoying your company. Youâ€™re a beautiful and interesting personâ€ť She seemed more surprised by his comment than anything as she asked â€śso, what gave you this job?â€ť
â€śI worked for the previous king and queen before their deaths and doing this for them is only right. Their son deserves to ruleâ€ť
â€śAnd where is he?â€ť
â€śNorth. His parents thought if heâ€™s in the snowy, icy reaches then it would give people less of a reason to go after him. He was put on a ship and put under the care of a merchant and his family.â€ť
â€śI canâ€™t imagine going from a prince to a merchant. It must have been hard.â€ť
â€śHe was always a good boy and, much like his father, a hard worker. It may have been an adjustment, but he wouldnâ€™t have shied away from it.â€ť He sighed. â€śI thought I had thrown them off my trail, by pretending to board a ship, but I guess they caught on.â€ť
â€śWhat are you going to do now?â€ť
â€śResupply and continue my journey. I have to fulfill my duty and bring him home. If I donâ€™t things could take a turn for the worst and no one wants that.â€ť He sat his fork down and leaned back, truly exhausted. â€śThank you, Violet, truly, thank you. I promise to repay your kindness.â€ť
The words came tumbling out of her without a single thought â€śwhy donâ€™t you repay me by allowing me to come with youâ€ť Despite the fact those words came unbidden she meant them. She had been tired of being here and maybe if she left the people would learn to take care of themselves. Dian sat upright, amusement playing over his exhausted face â€śThat works for me.â€ť
â€śwow, that easily?â€ť
â€śYouâ€™d be helpful, I can tell. Even if I didnâ€™t owe you Iâ€™d welcome you alongâ€ť
â€śThen lets both get some restâ€ť While Dian finished eating Violet brought a pillow and blanket into the living room, laying them both on the couch for him â€śgoodnight Dian, youâ€™re welcome to any food or water you need in the night. Iâ€™ll make us coffee and a descent breakfast in the morningâ€ť
That night Violet slept with her ax near her bed, just in case the men who had been chasing him managed to find her home. She woke the next morning to the sound of footsteps and someone talking. It took a moment to realize it was Dian, already awake, and she wondered who he was talking to. She yawned as she got up and made her way into the living room, seeing him pacing back and forth and reading out loud from one of her books. He smiled as he turned, closing the book. â€śSorry, did I wake you?â€ť
â€śItâ€™s alright, you should have woke me as soon as you got up.â€ť
â€śI didnâ€™t mind waiting.â€ť He let his eyes move over her. She looked quite cute disheveled as she was.
â€śI look rough donâ€™t I?â€ť She asked and his eyes jumped to her face.
â€śNot at all, quite the opposite. I apologize for staring.â€ť He cleared his throat. â€śWould you like me to help you with breakfast?â€ť
She shook her head. â€śI can manage.â€ť
â€śIâ€™d feel bad if I made you do everything.â€ť
She couldnâ€™t help but smile at him. He was far too kind and generous. â€śThen how about you read to me, you have a really nice voice.â€ť
He chuckled. â€śDo I?â€ť
She felt her cheeks heat. â€śWell, yeah, itâ€™s enjoyable enough.â€ť
He grinned again ‘well I was enjoying this book anyway, we will have to bring it on the journey so I can read aloud for you in the evenings. I always read out loud. Itâ€™s one of the odd things about me” She had been too sleepy to register what he had been reading so she asked â€śwhich book is it?â€ť he lifted it so she could see the cover â€śOh, thats actually a series. One of the villagers here writes it.â€ť
â€ścould we bring them all?â€ť
â€śYeah, if any get ruined I can always get another. She wonâ€™t even allow me to give her paymentâ€ť
â€śBecause I take care of this village. If anything bothers them they come running. Just the other day I had to chase off a dragonâ€ť
â€śHow do you think theyâ€™ll do without you?â€ť
â€śFine Iâ€™m sure, they just need to realize they donâ€™t need meâ€ť
â€śYou arenâ€™t worried about them discovering that?â€ť
â€śNo, Iâ€™ll get more time on my own and I have enough skills I donâ€™t need anything to be given to meâ€¦anyway, Iâ€™ll get the coffee started. That way itâ€™ll be ready when I amâ€ť Violet started the coffee then went back into her room to get dressed in something comfortable for the road.
â€śYou look good in that.â€ť Dian said when she came back and she couldnâ€™t help but blush.
â€śTheyâ€™re just some old clothes.â€ť
â€śThey suit you.â€ť
â€śThank you.â€ť He smiled and her heart jumped, causing her to look away in embarrassment and head into the kitchen to make breakfast.
â€śSorry, I didnâ€™t mean to make you uncomfortable.â€ť
Violet shook her head. â€śYou didnâ€™t, I promise, just not used to someone saying something like that to me.â€ť
â€śWell if they havenâ€™t, they are obviously blind.â€ť He sat down at the table, flipping the book open. â€śMay I still read?â€ť
â€śOf course.â€ť She had to admit to herself once again that she really enjoyed his voice. It was surprisingly smooth and had an unexpected deep timbre to it. She could honestly listen to it all day.
The smooth way he read along with how skilled this author was at showing the reader a scene had her mind clearly seeing what was happening in the story within her mind as she prepared breakfast and enjoyed her black coffee. Violet was almost disappointed as she sat down with their plates and he stopped but her mind quickly reminded her that he planned on reading throughout their trip. They ate silently but when Dian was finished he said â€śthat was incredible. Iâ€™ll be glad to read to you while you cook on the tripâ€ť she smiled â€śthatâ€™ll work amazing for both of usâ€ť She got up almost too quickly, not used to interactions like this at all.
Dian didnâ€™t say anything, her nerves only gave him hope. People who didnâ€™t react to your flirting werenâ€™t interested and he was incredibly interested in Violet. She was beautiful, an a amazing cook, had a mind of her own and was brave. He could only imagine what else he might find to like about her during their journey to collect the prince. When she gathered the series together Dian insisted he carried it since he was the one who had wanted it. She didnâ€™t put up too much of a fight having realized how heavy they would probably be after awhile.
â€śSo, whatâ€™s your plan?â€ť She asked as she shouldered the small pack she had made up with food and water in it.
â€śMake it to a bigger city and rent a horse and also buy warmer clothes. I wouldnâ€™t want you to freeze to death.â€ť
â€śWell I have you to make sure I stay warm, so Iâ€™m sure I wonâ€™t.â€ť He grinned and she blushed. â€śI mean, with your magic. You can make fire right?â€ť
She swallowed and he chuckled. â€śSo, what if he isnâ€™t there?â€ť
â€śThen weâ€™ll wait.â€ť
â€śIt must have been awful for him, being forced to stay in hiding even after his parents died. I donâ€™t know if I could have stayed, I think I would have raced home, heâ€™s definitely stronger than me.â€ť
â€śNow thatâ€™s not true, Iâ€™ve seen it in your head. That dragon didnâ€™t know who he was dealing with.â€ť
â€śYouâ€¦how much did you see?â€ť
â€śI didnâ€™t have time for much, I just saw the past few days. I wont look at anymore unless you say itâ€™s okay though. I just had to know if I could trust you and if you were up to facing those men should they comeâ€ť She could understand that. He did have a huge responsibility on his shoulders. â€śIâ€™ve found with most creatures all it takes is being brave. In our world you canâ€™t judge a book by its cover so they probably think Iâ€™m more than just humanâ€ť
â€śProbably, non magical beings do tend to just run or cower, especially in the presence of dragonsâ€ť
â€śHave you seen many dragons?â€ť
â€śI met a shifter once. He was a cool guy and as a dragon, well, he probably could have swallowed that dragon you met wholeâ€ť
â€śYeah, maybe I can introduce you two one dayâ€ť
â€śI would like that, maybe once weâ€™ve brought the prince home.â€ť
He nodded and they continued down the road, Violet looking back at her home as they got further and further away. She wondered how everyone would react once they realized she had left. She could only imagine. It was better not to tell them she was leaving, they would just try to make up excuses for why she couldnâ€™t. â€śIf you wish to turn back, now is the time.â€ť Dian said and she turned to him, smiling.
â€śNo going back until weâ€™ve finished this. Besides, itâ€™ll give them time to find their own courage and strength. Theyâ€™ll have to rely on each other if another dragon shows up.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure they will.â€ť
â€śAnd I get to go somewhere new thanks to you, even if it is dangerous and cold.â€ť
â€śSpeaking of dangerous,â€ť He reached over, taking her hand, â€śallow me to give you a little protection.â€ť He said a few words in a language she didnâ€™t know and she felt warmth move from his hand to hers, up her arm, and into her chest. He smiled and let her go. â€śThere, a ward of protection, just in case.â€ť
â€śThank youâ€ť Violet was surprised when he didnâ€™t let go but she didnâ€™t complain. She hadnâ€™t held hands with someone since she was a little girl and the fact he was so handsome along with nice definitely contributed to the fact she didnâ€™t mind. â€śAre you truly staying out of my head?â€ť She had to ask. He smiled again â€śYesâ€ť
â€śalright, I trust youâ€ť
â€śwhat would we have to talk about anyway if I went and looked at everything?â€ť
â€śTrue, I mean, the books are only going to last us so longâ€ť
â€śI was trying not to think about them. I want to know what happens nextâ€ť Violet smiled, filling with amusement of her own. â€śwho is your favorite character so far?â€ť He had to think â€śCedric, Iâ€™m going to have to go with Cedricâ€ť
â€śBecause heâ€™s so relatable. Heâ€™s trying his best to do the right thing without hurting anyone, but heâ€™s realizing things arenâ€™t that simple.â€ť
Dian gave a little laugh. â€śYeah, I donâ€™t want to hurt anyone, I really donâ€™t, but I know Iâ€™ll have to and Iâ€™ve made peace with that fact. These powers were passed down to me to defend myself and others and thatâ€™s how Iâ€™ll use them.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re a good man, Dian, you really are.â€ť
â€śI owe the king and queen, they were good people and my friends. I couldnâ€™t save them, even with all my power, so now Iâ€™ll bring their son home and help him take back the throne.â€ť
â€śAnd Iâ€™ll help you.â€ť
â€śAre you sure, you know there are bound to be swords and ill tempered mercenaries.â€ť
She smiled, making his heart dance. â€śIâ€™m sure, besides, you have my back.â€ť
They chatted happily about their lives, Dian telling her stories of what it was like serving the previous king and queen, of how his magic worked. She felt her face heat as she asked if he had a wife or kids and her heart fluttered when he smiled in amusement and told her no.
Despite how embarrassing it was to ask him, Violet had to know. It came as a relief to know that her attraction to him could be felt without guilt. She wasnâ€™t ready to confess to anything yet, it was much too soon and they had too far of a journey ahead of them but it was incredibly nice to know that if she fell completely in love it would be okay. The terrain they were currently in was perfect for getting to know one another. The path was smooth and there didnâ€™t seem to be a wild animal with the mildest interest in them. They were able just to talk until lunch when Dian kept to his word and read to Violet while she heated up their food.
They were back on the road as soon as they finished eating and cleaning up and Dian decided to continue reading as they walked, even acting out some of the scenes much to Violetâ€™s amusement. He grinned every time he got her to laugh and teased her when she blushed. Their first day passed without trouble and Dian started another fire when night fell so Violet could warm their food and to keep them warm. They settled in for the night after he finished reading and he was relieved she could so easily sleep outside. It was some time after midnight when they were woke by the sound of footsteps and whispered voices. Their eyes met past the fire and they both lay there as still as possible.
â€śViolet,â€ť he said softly, â€ścover your ears, close your eyes and scoot back away from the fire.â€ť
She nodded and squeezed her eyes shut, pretending to roll in her sleep, bringing her hands up to her ears as she did so. Dian could hear the men in the woods. They thought they were being stealthy, that he and Violet had not heard them, but they had been wrong. He heard them step out of the treeline and readied himself. One approached him from behind and he could see in the firelight another heading straight for Violet. He heard the whispered command of their leader and just as the one near Violet reached for her, he closed his eyes, covered his ears, and caused the fire to explode up into a bright pillar of blinding light.
They groaned loudly and Dian quickly rose, punching the man who had been previously in position to grab Violet. They both heard bone crunch and knew the mans nose was going to be gushing blood. â€śfuckâ€ť Violet got up too, ready to fight alongside Dian but instead he grabbed her wrist along with the bag of books and began running, pulling her away. Dian knew this journey would require violence but he wanted to use as little of it as possible. The only reason he punched the man so near Violet was to make sure he couldnâ€™t find his senses and grab her when she stood and if he was being truly honest with himself, he also did it because she was coming to mean a lot to him.
Violet couldnâ€™t quite keep pace with Dian but she did her best. The two kept at it until they were both panting and sure those men were far behind them. â€śOh crap our stuffâ€ť Violet realized they had the bag of books but not their items. He sighed â€śwe have whatâ€™s important, our lives and the medallion. We can make due along the wayâ€ť
â€śIt’s good you keep it on you constantlyâ€ť
â€śYou didnâ€™t get scorched or anything did you?â€ť
â€śNo, still have my eyebrows.â€ť
He chuckled as he stopped and took her face in his hands. â€śYeah, they look even to me.â€ť
She blushed. â€śUm, yourâ€™s do too. You were closer than me so, thatâ€™s surprising.â€ť
â€śTrust me, Iâ€™ve burned mine off a few times, back when I was first learning. There was a time I had to keep my hair extremely short because I kept burning it.â€ť She laughed and he smiled back. â€śIâ€™m glad you got to keep yours though, itâ€™s too beautiful to burn.â€ť He let her face go and took her hand instead. â€śCome on, letâ€™s keep moving.â€ť
Violet wasnâ€™t sure how long they kept walking, only that the sun was suddenly starting to rise and she was getting tired. She was about to ask for a breather when Dian scooped her up into his arms. â€śWhat are you doing?â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re tired right?â€ť
â€śWell yeah, but youâ€™re already carrying the books.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll be fine, I promise.â€ť
â€śIf Iâ€™m not walking I could read to you so you can learn what happens nextâ€ť He smiled again, it lighting up his face â€śthats a perfect ideaâ€ť he set her down long enough to grab the book they were on and give it to her. â€śAre you sure this is enough sun for your eyes not to hurt?â€ť
â€śOh yeah, this is fineâ€ť Violet relaxed in his arms and began quietly reading, semi worried there might be others near who could be drawn by her voice. They had been lucky to get away from their last situation so easily. She didnâ€™t want to roll their odds again anytime soon. Things were quite, almost concerningly so for Dian but he wouldnâ€™t worry about it. He was finding he liked her reading voice too. Dian suddenly stopped a few chapters later, causing Violet to look up at him â€śwhats wrongâ€ť he set her down so he could touch the ground. Violet stood there silently, gripping her book. He took her hand, still not offering any sort of explanation. She supposed they either needed to be quite or this was just a result of traveling by himself up until now. He might just not be used to explaining anything to someone else.
Either way she began looking around, only seeing different kinds of bugs exploring this place they called home. He was crouching again, feeling the ground. He looked up at her â€śyou know I almost fell for it listening to you read. It might be dangerous for you to read while I hold you. I might not pay close enough attentionâ€ť
â€śwhatâ€™s wrong?â€ť she finally pressed, eager to know what she should be worried about. â€śI canâ€™t imagine anybody knew Iâ€™d be coming this way so this must be an old trap someone set for whatever reason and then forgot to get rid of itâ€ť
â€śthat or were killedâ€ť
â€śyeah, I suppose theyâ€™d need some kind of reason to do this but come down here, feelâ€ť She crouched down beside him and felt in front of them. Her face scrunched up”what?”
â€śtheres nothing thereâ€ť
â€śbutâ€ť she felt again â€śdear god maybe whoever set it forgot and walked right offâ€ť
â€śthat kind of karma would suck. Since we ran in the dark we must have gone the wrong way somehow. Iâ€™m normally better than that. Iâ€™m sorryâ€ť
â€śYou donâ€™t have to be sorry.â€ť
â€śI should be more aware.â€ť
â€śDian, you havenâ€™t had to worry about someone else traveling with you, so donâ€™t beat yourself up. Youâ€™re just trying to be a good protector and companion.â€ť
He sighed then gave her a smile. â€śYouâ€™re an amazing woman, Violet.â€ť They both stood. â€śIâ€™m going to disarm it just in case someone else comes around then we can get back on track.â€ť He had her step back and he held his hands out, closing his eyes, and whispering a spell.
Violet was amazed when his palms began glowing with pale light. Her heart danced in her chest as his voice became a little louder and more impassioned. She could feel his magic as it spread out around them and tingled over her skin. The light faded and he let out a soft sigh and opened his eyes. â€śIs it safe now?â€ť
â€śYes, everything should be fine and no one should get hurt.â€ť
He nodded and reached over, taking her hand. His palm felt warm against hers. â€śAre you ready?â€ť
She didnâ€™t realize she was just staring at him until he cocked his head to the side and gave her questioning look. Her face flushed in embarrassment. â€śOh, yes, sorry, letâ€™s go.â€ť
“He chuckled. â€śHow cute you are my little warrior.â€ť
â€śOh hush, come one.â€ť She started to walk off and he gently pulled her back.
â€śItâ€™s this way.â€ť
She nervously chuckled, wishing her face wasnâ€™t so warm. People around her had always looked up to her back home but Dian was the first man to make her feel seen as a woman. He was so flirtatious and sweet. Her thoughts soon turned more serious as they walked back the way they came. She knew the two of them had gone far and wasted hours of time in a situation where every bit of time was precious. When he began guiding them to the left she grew concerned they were going the wrong way again â€śbut we didnâ€™t turn before? Shouldn’t we still go straight?â€ť
â€śNo, itâ€™ll be quicker to get back on course this way. I know this area pretty well which makes it all the more ridiculous I did that and I see that face, itâ€™s not your fault. Youâ€™re distracting but that doesnâ€™t make us getting side tracked your faultâ€ť
â€śI wont hear of it. Iâ€™m a man with a job, distracting female companion or not I should be aware of where we are goingâ€ť She gave him a small smile â€śso, can we talk?â€ť
â€śYeah, what would you like to talk about?â€ť
â€śWell, what do you plan to do, after everything? I mean are you going back home or something else?â€ť
He smiled. â€śDefine something else.â€ť
â€śWell, maybe settle down or something?â€ť
He shrugged. â€śMaybe, I havenâ€™t given it too much thought really.â€ť He chuckled. â€śOkay, thatâ€™s not entirely true, Iâ€™ve been thinking about it more recently. I mean, what if I died never falling in love? What if I never had the chance to have kids and raise them around the castle and show them magic?â€ť
â€śYou would want to live there?â€ť
â€śWell, I feel an obligation to continue my job, not just for the prince, but for his parents, my friends. However, if she wished to stay where she was then I would have no choice but to travel back and forth.â€ť
â€śI think I would move if it were me, I mean it would be something new, an adventure.â€ť
Violet was startled when he said â€śwell good because you are the cause of my thinking of that recentlyâ€¦I know we just met Violet but Iâ€™d be a liar and an idiot to pretend you didnâ€™t have a pull on my heart. Youâ€™re not only beautiful but youâ€™re incredibly brave. That brief glimpse I saw into your history made me want to know so much more about you. You also have impeccable tastes in books apparently.â€ť She almost stuttered but managed to speak normally â€śYou canâ€™t really think Iâ€™m pretty. Iâ€™ve never felt prettyâ€ť He took her hand, causing Violet to stop so he could look into her eyes â€śYouâ€™re gorgeous Violet. I mean that. How do you feel about me?â€ť
â€śI like you a lot tooâ€ť
â€śgood, I really do hope by the end of this adventure youâ€™ll truly want to live in the castle with me. We donâ€™t have to rush into marriage or kids or anything. I was just being honest about the kind of thoughts you draw out of me Violetâ€ť
â€śI know, Iâ€™m happy, really. Are you sure youâ€™re ready to live with me? I mean, Iâ€™m a bit hot headed sometimes.â€ť
â€śNo youâ€™re not, you just get exasperated, I saw it.â€ť He tipped her head back and bent down, his lips stopping a breath from hers. â€śYou are so noble and beautiful, a true warrior and I love you for it, Violet.â€ť
â€śDian.â€ť Her voice came out in a whisper and he smiled as he pressed his lips to hers.
He pulled back with a sigh. â€śWe should go my love. Are you ready?â€ť
Dian decided to take as many shortcuts as he could as they headed further North, wanting to stay as far ahead of the men chasing him as he could. He knew the journey back might be harder than the journey there while they were being followed. He could feel that it was starting to become colder the further they went and was relieved when the city came into view. Violet was shivering and he picked her up, hoping his own warmth would keep the cold at bay.
She snuggled into him â€śthank youâ€ť her voice was a whisper which concerned him even more. Dian picked up his pace, wanting to get her inside somewhere before she became sick. Dian walked into the first in, only setting her down to pay for a room. It didnâ€™t take long, soon they were inside and he suggested â€śwhy donâ€™t you run yourself a bath while I go out again and see if anybody around here sells clothing. Now that weâ€™ve hit a city we really need a change of clothes, something warmer since most of whats left of our journey will be coldâ€ť
â€śYouâ€™re cold too though. You donâ€™t need to get us warmer clothes right now.â€ť
â€śI really want to, I can probably just ask the man at the front desk so I wont be outside long. Just relax here, warm up and Iâ€™ll be back before you know itâ€ť She could see the resolve in his eyes to go so she didnâ€™t argue it any further. Besides, her body longed to be in a warm bath. Dian left as Violet entered the bathroom, making sure to lock the door so she wouldnâ€™t get any surprise visitors. Just as he thought the man at the front desk knew a good place to go clothes shopping for them both so he didnâ€™t have to wander to locate one.
Violet let out a sigh of relief once she was sitting in the tub and she was grateful that it was so big so the water rose up to her chin and covered everything. She rested her neck against the edge, just soaking up the soothing warmth. She hummed softly to herself, thinking of Dian and how much had happened in just the short time they had known each other. After everything she had had to face and scare away, falling in love with someone like Dian had been the most unexpected. She couldnâ€™t get over how perfect and honorable he was and she hoped she wouldnâ€™t suddenly wake up asleep on one of her books.
Dian bought clothes as quickly as possible, thanking the woman running the store for helping him find something suitable for Violet. He spent extra on a coat and boots for her, wanting her to be as warm as possible while they traveled North. He made a stop at another store to buy dry kindling, a small ax, and ask where the best firewood could be found in the direction they were going. He wasnâ€™t going to make Violet travel through the night in the snow. He thanked the man there and hurried back to the inn.
The bathroom door was still closed when he entered the room so he knocked on the door, both to make sure she was really still in there and to let her know he was back â€śyeah? Dian?â€ť her voice sounded from the other side of the door, obviously still safely in the bath â€śdo you want me to set your new clothes in front of the door or to set them in thereâ€¦I wont go all the way inâ€ť
â€śYou can set them in here, thank youâ€ť Dian opened the door just enough to set the clothes on the counter. Violet pulled on the stopped so the tub would drain. There wasnâ€™t a lot of heat left in it anyway and she was sure Dian needed a turn to warm his body. Violet was a little nervous about the clothes fitting since he didnâ€™t know her measurements but to her glee they fit perfectly and were incredibly comfortable. As she looked in the mirror she decided they were even cute, he had good tastes, another thing to love about him.
The first thing Violet did upon leaving the bathroom was hug him. He just smiled, holding her tight â€śthank youâ€ť
â€śI was worried about youâ€ť
â€śJust not used to it being so cold. I mean it snows back home, but itâ€™s much colder up here.â€ť
He pulled back to look at her. â€śHow are you feeling? Warm enough?â€ť
â€śYeah and I love the clothes.â€ť
â€śThey look good on you, but I have something even better.â€ť He moved away from her and lifted the coat. â€śTo keep you extra warm.â€ť
Violet took it gently, amazed by how soft it was. â€śWow.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s made from a bear hide. The interior is sealskin, same with the boots to keep you dry.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re so sweet, Dian.â€ť
â€śI canâ€™t have my beautiful love freeze to death.â€ť He took the coat and held it open. â€śLetâ€™s go out and get something to eat, we can talk about what weâ€™re going to do while we do.â€ť
â€śOkay.â€ť She slipped the coat on and quickly buttoned it. â€śWhat do you think?â€ť
â€śYou look like you belong here, very cute.â€ť
â€śare you sure youâ€™re up to going out? You havenâ€™t had a chance to warm upâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ll be fine, just cuddle with me laterâ€ť Dian said, bringing her hand to his lips to kiss it. The difference in their temperatures was clearly evident but he insisted he was fine so they left together. â€śthis one place smelled amazing when I passed itâ€ť Dian said as he scooped her up outside. â€śI canâ€™t waitâ€ť Violet was worried about Dian not being able to truly get warm yet so she was glad they didnâ€™t have to go far to reach the place he was talking about.
Violet agreed, the smells coming from this place were amazing. They talked about the restaurant until their food actually came â€śso do you need us to take a break here for more than just tonight? We can stay a day or two. Youâ€™re not used to this and I donâ€™t want to push you too hardâ€ť Dian said after his first bite. Violet finished chewing and swallowed â€śI definitively want to leave in the morning. I donâ€™t think we should take a long stop unless one of us gets sick. Youâ€™re right, Iâ€™m not used to this but Iâ€™m really fine. Besides, you keep picking me up so how can it be all that hardâ€ť
Dian smiled â€śI like being close to youâ€ť Violet blushed and he was just happy she was warm enough to. She found herself thinking about how sweet and caring he was again. Traveling together was one of those things that could make or break relationships so she felt it showed how much promise this thing between them had that she felt this happy. They talked about where they needed to go and the best ways to get there until their food was gone. After Dian paid he took Violets hand and said â€ślets just enjoy eachother for the rest of the night okay? If we talk I just want it to be about normal life things, I want to get to know you moreâ€ť Violet smiled â€śIâ€™d like that tooâ€ť