“Come back!” Konnor yelled, pounding against the door. He didn’t want Dax to stay out there to be killed. He knew it was his fault that Dax had to come back and save him. It was his fault Dax had to kill that guy. It was his fault that the Kirinalli were coming for Dax now.
If Dax wouldn’t come back to him, he needed to be out there, fight alongside Dax. Konnor didn’t want to be left here while his lover was fighting for his life, it wasn’t fair. Dax was risking his life to save Konnor from another group of savages. It wasn’t fair. If anyone was dying today, it should be him, not Dax.
Konnor pressed his ear to the door. Everything was too quiet. A loud shot broke the silence. It was quickly followed by two more and the sound of metal clanging against metal. Konnor balled his hands into fists, how many people was Dax having to take on at once? The clanging stopped, but he could still hear the sounds of fists colliding with flesh. Dax had to be winning, Konnor had to believe it.
There was the sound of more gunshots, this time coming from a distance. Who was here now? Were they here to help? If so, for which side? Konnor rushed to the window in the back of the room. He pressed his face against the glass to see that the Toeaux Scout Ship had caught up to them and was hovering off the port side. Toeaux soldiers were boarding their ship, all of them armed with heavy firearms.
All sounds stopped. There was a deathly silence left behind, followed by the faint clatter of weapons falling to the ground. Another sound started to come from below where Konnor was. He tried to look out the window again. The Kirinalli ship was sailing away.
Footsteps echoed out on the main deck. Konnor looked through the window back at the bit of the Toeaux Scout Ship he could see. A few Toeaux soldiers were carrying people across to the scout ship. Moments later, the ship started sailing full speed back in the direction of Toeaux.
More footsteps sounded through the ship, the soldiers were searching it. A set of footsteps got louder and Konnor realized that they were headed in the direction of this room. He turned away from the window, looking at the door as the handle jiggled. Something crashed into the door, making the whole wall shake, but the door stayed shut. A couple more crashes against the door before it finally gave way. A Toeaux soldier, in blue-gray armor emblazoned with the Toeaux crest, stood in the doorway, handle and lock busted open.
The soldier stared at Konnor for a minute, his eyes wide. He finally said, “Prince Tendarian.” He bowed slightly towards him.
Konnor gulped this was the end of everything, he was certain that Dax was one of the people carried onto the scout ship, and now he’d been recognized and would be taken back to Seslin. He looked back at the soldier, “Sir... what happened... the Kirinalli...” He had to know.
“They’ve been suppressed, Sir,” The soldier stepped out of the doorway, gesturing towards the hallway, “If you would like to come this way Prince Tendarian, I can have a Royal Escort take you home.”
He stepped forward, he knew he couldn’t stay here, it would be better to just go with the soldier. He stopped in the doorway, looking at the soldier, “Prince Austeareus... is he...?” Konnor just couldn’t bring himself to ask if he was alive.
The soldier’s gaze was steady as he said, “He’s been critically injured and is being taken back to a hospital in Toeaux.”
The only bright side of the soldier’s words was that Dax was still alive. Although if he was critically injured, that could mean he might not pull through. Konnor shook his head, he couldn’t think like that, Dax was strong, he had to pull through, he just had to.
Konnor walked out of the room and back onto the main deck, the soldier following behind him. As they got to the open space, he could see the Kirinalli ship and the Toeaux ship in the distance. One Toeaux soldier was holding a rifle and guarding five Kirinalli. Konnor figured that the rest made it onto the ship and were fleeing for freedom. Another Toeaux soldier was walking up to the helm, getting the ship ready to fly again.
The ship started to move through the sky again, heading in the direction of the other Toeaux ship. Konnor kept staring at the scout ship with Dax on it. He wanted to be there with him, at his side instead of stuck here to be sent back to Seslin.
Yet another soldier arose from the cabins below deck, Saria and Timothy walking up onto the deck after him. Konnor ran for his friends, forgetting about the soldier that’d found him. “Timothy, Saria!”
Timothy looked up when he heard Konnor calling. He actually smiled, Konnor so rarely saw him smile. “Konnor, you’re alright.”
Konnor nodded, smiling, “Dax saved me.”
Saria gulped, reaching out to take hold of Konnor’s arm. “What happened, where is Daxi? We heard a fight up here and gunshots.”
Konnor dropped his gaze. He couldn’t look at Saria when he knew it was his fault. “A Kirinalli got onto this ship, tried to take over the helm. Dax protected me from him and got me to a safe place. I told him to stay with me, but he wouldn’t. I don’t know what happened, all the soldiers will say is that Dax has been critically injured and is being taken to a hospital.” He scrunched up his shoulders. He felt like such an awful person for not being there with Dax.
A pair of skinny arms wrapped around his torso. Saria had her head buried in his chest. Konnor squeezed his eyes shut, hugging Saria back. “I’m so sorry.”
She shook her head, holding onto Konnor a little tighter, “He’s alright. He’s stubborn like that.” Her words were strong, but Konnor could hear her jagged breath followed by tears. Were they her tears or his? He didn’t know or care. He just stayed in the embrace, letting himself cry but not to grieve, not yet.
The trip back to the Toeaux watch tower was fast. A lot faster than it took them to fly out all the way into the Wastelands. At least it seemed that way to Konnor. He was still standing with Saria and Timothy when the ship docked. He opened his eyes to see that it had already gotten dark outside.
A soldier started to approach them. He hesitated before walking right up to Konnor, “Prince Tendarian, your escort is here.”
“Prince Tendarian?” Saria stepped back, pulling herself out of Konnor’s arms. She looked from him to Timothy and back to Konnor. Neither of them said anything back to her. Konnor hadn’t meant for Saria to find out, and certainly not like that.
The soldier took a breath, bravely saying again, “Prince Tendarian. We can leave as soon as you are ready.”
Konnor nodded. He looked back at the soldier, “Timothy and I will be there shortly.” The soldier nodded and ducked away, going to wait on the side of the ship by gangplank connected to an escort ship.
“You’re Prince Tendarian,” Saria breathed out, staring up at Konnor. She let her gaze drop, furrowing her brow, “I guess Daxi didn’t want to get married regardless, but he might not have done this suicide mission if he’d known-”
“He would hate me.” Konnor finished for her. He knew Dax was a force to be reckoned with, he’d been reminded of that when he saw Dax sink the knife in that guy’s neck. If he had told Dax, surely Dax would get angry with Konnor over his true identity.
Saria shook her head, taking a large step back from Konnor and Timothy. She turned her eyes on Timothy, “And what about you?”
Timothy’s shoulders dropped, his voice quieter than usual, “I’m a son of a Seslin lord.”
“You lied to us...” She looked at Timothy and Konnor, shaking her head.
Konnor gulped, “I just didn’t tell you my family name. Timothy was just being a good friend to me.” He stepped closer, reaching out to Saria, “You can’t tell Dax.”
“But Daxi deserves to know,” she insisted, shrugging her arm back and away from Konnor’s outstretched hand.
He shook his head more vigorously, “No. He’d hate me for not telling him sooner and he’d resent me because being with me is what father wanted. You can’t tell him. Let him remember me as that guy he picked up in a bar, he’d probably be happier with that.”
“He won’t be content to just remember you...” Saria hesitated.
Konnor could tell that he wasn’t doing enough to convince her. She was Dax’s best friend and he was sure that she didn’t like keeping things from him. He certainly wouldn’t want Timothy to keep secrets from him. He let out a sigh, “Just let me be the one to tell him.” He tried to reason with her, “It would be worse if it came from anyone else.”
“How can I possibly keep it from him?” Saria insisted.
“Let him feel good about everything he did for me. Tell him I had to go back to Seslin, it’s not a lie.” He stepped forward, taking hold of Saria by the shoulders, “Please, I can’t lose him. I will make this right. I promise.”
She was quiet for a moment, looking up at him, eyes wide. Saria let out a long a sigh, nodding, “I’ll wait.”
Konnor let out a sigh of relief, releasing Saria from his grip. He really didn’t want to tell Dax that he was the Prince of Seslin, but he would have to eventually. But at this point, he wasn’t sure that he’d ever actually see Dax again. He got the feeling that with all of their rebelling against their parents that neither of the kings would think this a suitable match anymore. He didn’t know if that would be the case and he actually hoped it wouldn’t. He didn’t want to get married to anyone else, it would feel wrong to be with someone and not Dax.
He wanted to stay and talk with Saria, and go back with her to Dax in the hospital, but he knew he couldn’t stall any longer. He rested a hand on Timothy’s shoulder, “Come on, we have to go back.”
Konnor and Timothy turned and walked towards the smaller airship hovering next to the large royal ship where the soldier was waiting. He and Timothy crossed over to the ship and the soldier removed the plank connecting the two ships, giving the go ahead to the skipper of the escort.
There were five soldiers running the yacht. Konnor figured they had plenty of people here to be able to spare five soldiers just to escort them back to Seslin. They both looked back at Saria as the soldiers untied the ship and started to fly off.
Timothy stayed at the the side of the boat, looking back at Saria for as long as he could. His hands gripping tightly onto the railing. Konnor swallowed. This was all his fault too. If it weren’t for him, Timothy could stay with Saria and not be forced to go back to Seslin with him. Konnor rested a hand on Timothy’s shoulder, “I’m sorry. You’ll see her again, I’ll make sure of it.”
Timothy shook his head, still looking at the horizon even though they could no longer see the ship. “I don’t want her to wait for me. She’s a special woman and deserves better than a beta like me.”
Konnor looked down at Timothy. He lightly pushed Timothy’s shoulder to turn Timothy to face him, “You’re a good man. A loyal friend. Don’t ever sell yourself short.”
Timothy looked up at Konnor. A smile appearing on his face, “Thanks Konnor.”
Konnor smiled back, patting Timothy’s shoulder. He went to the back of the yacht, sitting in one of the chairs. He legs out, leaned back and stared into the horizon. Konnor closed his eyes, taking a breath of the cold air and letting the wind ruffle his hair.
He heard a creak and opened his eyes to see Timothy sitting in the chair next to him. Timothy’s brow creased and pushed up his forehead, a small smile on his face.
Konnor looked to the sky again, “I wonder if this was pointless in the end. I feel like I brought Dax trouble more than anything. He’s had to save me twice and now I don’t even know if he’s going to live...”
Timothy shook his head. “I don’t think it has been. I don’t think you would have the same connection with Prince Austeareus if you told him who you were from the beginning. And if you had stayed in Seslin then you wouldn’t love him when it did come time for you to marry him.”
Konnor finally smiled back at his friend. Timothy had a point, he wouldn’t want to be with Dax and Dax wouldn’t want to be with him if they’d just done what they were supposed to do. It seemed for that for the two of them, things had a tragic way of working out. That is if the marriage went ahead and they could still be together. He looked back out into the horizon, remembering everything Dax had done for him. All that mattered was that Dax would be okay.