The Runaway Magician and the Lost Prince

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Chapter 36

“Limbs sturdy, nothing is clogged, and everything is in working order. Hooray! I did it!” Serena cheered. Rean blinked, looking up at her. It seemed confused.

“Yeah. Good job,” Kakane said. He touched his scar before turning away from Serena and asking, “Hey, now that Rean’s done and all, what are you going to do now? Stay in Poseidos? Go to Aegyptus or something?”

“I haven’t thought about it yet. I liked traveling with you,” Serena said absentmindedly. “I think I’d like to continue traveling if that’s possible.”

A silence descended upon the two, who refused to meet each other’s eyes. Rean blinked, looking at the two humans before it and wondering what was going on. They were fidgeting, Kakane with the hem of his shirt and Serena with a strand of her hair. They both looked like they wanted to say something.

Ask him, you can’t keep holding words at the tip of your tongue forever…

Tell her, or else everything will be ruined; you’ll lose her if you keep secrets from her…

Can I do this?

You have to do this.

They opened their mouths.

“Serena𑁋”

“Kakane𑁋”

They blinked, looking at each other.

“You go first𑁋”

“No, you𑁋”

“I-I insist!” Serena said finally, looking at the floor.

“I know… There’s really nothing keeping us together now since Rean’s done and all, but…” Kakane took a deep breath. “Just𑁋until we reach the mainland and you can figure something out, want to keep traveling together?” He looked away from her, biting his lip. Serena blinked.

“Yes…” she said, a wave of relief washing over her. “Yes, I’d really like that. Thank you, Kakane.” Rean blinked, feeling most of the tension leave the room. “Where are you planning on heading first?”

“Uh, the island of Neelos, up north, right outside of Doryokan territory. It’s closer to the empire than I’d like, but I don’t really feel like going back to Samsara, you know? Being in one place for too long makes me antsy, and that includes revisiting places.”

“I’d like to go somewhere new,” Serena agreed. “I’ve barely explored any of Eyuth, after all.”

Another awkward silence descended on the pair, who refused to look at each other. Rean was growing more and more confused, wondering why they were acting so strange. Serena cleared her throat.

“I-I’m going to go prepare for the trip, you know, say my goodbyes and stuff. I’ll be seeing you, Kakane.” The scarred boy nodded mutely.

“Yeah… Take your time.”

Serena beckoned for Rean to follow her, and she left with her puppet, leaving Kakane alone. Once the door closed behind her, he groaned, leaning against the wall and covering his eyes. He slid down onto the floor, curling into a ball. His scar burned.

That was not what he meant to say, not at all. He had only delayed the inevitable, bought more time. Time was such a finite resource; it would run out before Kakane knew it. And by then it would be too late.

What an utter fool he was…

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