Steel and Spell

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Chapter 31

As we entered the dirty bar, I saw that it was pretty much the same when I first arrived. Except there was a broken window covered with some rags, probably a victim from the bar fight a few nights ago.

It was hard to process the fact that I came there less than a week ago. It felt like ages.

It was kind of early, so there were just a couple guys in the far corner drinking while they muttered to themselves.

I was the last one to enter, and somehow the owner's eyes immediately fell on me. He scrutinized his eyes at me while I smiled guiltily.

”Did you come again to destroy my bar?”

All eyes were on me with looks of confusion, surprise or amusement. My cheeks turned pink as I cleared my throat in quite a discomfort.

“Uhm, no. In the first place, it wasn’t my fault. A man was harassing me. Second of all, I’m truly sorry.”

I took the small bag of coins the kind farmer gave me in exchange for the horse from my pocket in my trousers and put it on the counter.

“I hope it can cover something at least.”

The guy took the bag and saw the content and looked quite satisfied.
He looked at the guys raising his brows and then once again at me.

“I guess you people need someplace to stay?”

I nodded. “Yes please”

He crouched as if looking for something. He then stood up and with his hand signalized for me to come closer.

He gave me two rusty keys and told me the rooms were upstairs at the left side of the hallway.

“If you need anything, one of your pals can come down, but to avoid conflict don’t come with your armor or cape. As you already know, some people are not very happy with you.” He pointed to all of us, referring to the Black Knights

The most strange thing through all this exchange was the silence of my partners. Nobody said one word, not even Leo, which was weird.

"Thank you for your hospitality." I smiled at him gratefully as the other guys nodded their heads in acknowledgment and started walking towards the stairs the far right of the room.

Arriving at the rooms we realized there was a dilemma.

"So, who sleeps with who?" I asked gazing at all the guys.

Quinn immediately put his arm around my shoulders and ruffled my short hair. "It will be my pleasure to sleep with you," he said very cheerily while I cringed internally.

That sounded so wrong, but nobody looked at him weirdly, except for Leo who for a few seconds glared. I'm pretty sure that's a constant look in his face.

After a few minutes of discussion, that in reality, it was just Leo telling everyone what to do, it was decided that Althalos, Gerardus and Tybalt would be in one room and Quinn, Leo and me in another.

I was a little bit disappointed that Tybalt was going to be in the other room since he was the only guy that I could consider a "friend". At least Quinn was friendly...

"So, tell me more about this place you come from," Quinn asked enthusiastically turning his whole body in my direction.

At that point, we were ready to go to sleep, the three of us already tucked in their bed. And for my luck, I was the one sleeping in the bed in the middle of Leo and Quinn.

I sighed and turned to look at Quinn. "What do you want to know?"

Even though I couldn't see his face because of the darkness, I could imagine his excited face. Until then, Quinn had been the one most interested in my origins, and somehow I appreciated that. It was a nice distraction of all the shit going down, however, it was also nostalgic.

"Well, what did you work in?" His voice resonated through the darkness and silence of the room, Leo making not one sound.

I chuckled a little at the question. "I didn't work, I studied."

"Study? What kind of studies?" The confusion was distinguishable in his tone and I proceeded to explain.

"I studied pretty much everything. Math, history, biology, chemistry, English, and philosophy. And I didn't choose to do that. I'm pretty much forced to go to school. Almost every kid in my country is forced to go."

"Are you smart then?" he asked genuinely and I laughed.

"Not really. I got good grades in school, but I achieved that by studying very hard. There are some students though that don't open a single book and still get good grades. They are smart. I'm just a regular student."

"And you did that for the rest of your life?"

"Hell no! I would kill myself if that was like that. After high school, that's where I am right now, I should go to university where you need to study for 5 more years, but there at least you specialize in a profession of your choice."

And we kept on talking for some hours about the government system, health, education, wars, and even my life and family. At some point, he fell asleep and I just...did not.

I kept on tossing around the uncomfortable bed, my chest feeling heavy and my mind full of thoughts that were driving me crazy. Nothing was helping me fall asleep and I could feel the tiredness aching in every muscle of my body.

"Stop moving." Leo steel voice startled me from my thoughts.

"Sorry, I just..." I left the sentence hanging in the air, not sure that he was the person whom I could talk to.

"I can't sleep." I ended up simply saying. "What about you?"

"I never sleep." He said with a hint of tiredness seeping through his voice. "It has been like that since I have memory."

"Oh, so you have insomnia?"

"What's that?" I could imagine the cute little frown on his face when he asked, making me smile for no reason at all.

"What the hell Liberty? Get it together!"

"It's a medical condition that has to do with your brain. It's usually controlled with pills that induce sleep, but I don't think they have them here..."

"You are saying I'm sick?" he said in an angry tone that made me giggle for no apparent reason.

"It doesn't mean you are sick, it means your brain works differently that's all."

Silence came upon us once again, and the heavy feeling on my chest combined with dark thoughts came back once again to attack me. I suddenly felt like the air in the room wasn't enough for my lungs and rapidly I sat up and looked at the wall in front of me, breathing fastly in and out.

"What's wrong?" Leo asked me and I didn't respond.

"Are you scared?" He asked again in what felt like a concerned voice, but maybe it was my tormented mind imagining things.

After a few moments of silence, I decided to answer with the truth.

"I'm scared of everything," I said quietly, terrified of the consequence of this disclosure. "I feel like everything around me gets ruined, that I just put people in danger. And sleeping is not much better. The nightmares..."

These last few days I hadn't slept much, but when I did get to close my eyes, all I saw was blood, monsters and my loved ones getting hurt, mostly Cassius. It got to the point where I just woke up sweating with tears staining my cheeks.

After a long silence, I started speaking again, this time unwinding everything that had been building up inside of me.

"If you heard before, my life was very different from what it is here. My only worry was to study, get good grades, hang out with my best friend, and maybe once in a while, daydream about my cute neighbor," I said remembering Lucas, who I had forgotten about during my stay in that strange reality. "But even though I've been here a long time and I should already be used to this kind of life, I just can't."

Leo didn't say anything, which made me wonder if he was listening at all.

"How do you do it?"

"Do what?" he asked back, proving he was listening.

"Carry around death," I said straightforwardly, being too curious about how I could get free of the anxiety eating me inside out.

"I can not answer something that can ease you. I have been always around death, and not only me but all of the boys. It's something constant in our lives and we don't try to escape from it."

I sighed, laying in my back once again, somehow more relaxed with the conversation I was having with Leo.

"I hope someday I can be like you guys. I don't mean being an asshole," that earned a laugh from Leo that sounded so alien to my ears. "I mean tough, brave, and self-sacrificing."

I chuckled to myself. "I don't even know why am I telling you this...kind of dumb of me to do it."

"Hey, it is alright. You have been through a lot and I admire your resilience." He whispered in the silence of the night, leaving me astounded with his confession.

"I don't have a choice. It's this or... never going back home."

Hello, my lovely readers,

As you can see, this chapter is quite shorter than the ones uploaded before, but that's because my time is very limited and I prefer writing shorter chapters that you can enjoy more often than uploading one's in a million years.
Xoxo- Cele
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