Eyes wide, mouth open they stared at him for a while. Lucian began to worry. Did his appearance change? He needed a mirror.
The man was the first to break the silence. “You are back. Please come and sit.”
Everyone followed him with their gaze as he made his way to the circle and sat down. The man cleared his throat and gave them a look so that they would stop staring and eventually they did.
“So what’s your name young man?” The man asked.
“Lucian, I am John and this is my wife Layla.” He introduced the middle-aged woman sitting next to him. Then he continued introducing everyone else. John and Layla had three daughters, the youngest was, of course, Elle and then there was Anna seventeen and Nora nineteen. The old woman was John’s mother, Charlotte.
“We also have a son, Julian. He serves in the royal army.”
“Royal army?” He wondered which one they spoke of because he didn’t even know in which kingdom he was right now.
“Yes. He has been busy with all the war going on but now it has come to an end he believes. Soon the crown prince will be crowned king.”
War. Crown prince. He was still in Decresh.
“By the way how did you fall inside the well?”
Oh, now came the question he had been dreading. They began asking him question after question and Lucian tried to answer all of them. Of course, none of his answers were true. He told them that he was traveling when some thieves attacked him and pushed him inside the well.
“Where were you traveling?”
“I...I was...” Lucian had never had to lie this much before. Coming up with all those lies was more difficult than he thought. “I don’t remember.”
“Oh dear. You must have hit your head.” Charlotte said.
“Father why don’t you let him stay here?...until he remembers,” Nora suggested.
Charlotte nodded her head in agreement.
“Thank you for your generosity but I should go.” Lucian said.
“But where? You don’t know where to go and you have nothing to travel with.” Nora said.
She was right. He had no money and he didn’t know where to go...yet.
John seemed to think for a while. “I think you should stay here until you recover.”
Lucian looked at each one of them, they all thought he should stay. Why were they being so nice to him?
“So...are you a witch?” John asked once everyone left and they were alone. Lucian was surprised by the question.
“What makes you think so?” He asked.
“Well...it impossible for a normal human to crawl out of a well that’s so deep and secondly your wounds just healed so I am guessing you used your magic.”
From the way John spoke Lucian guessed he was a witch himself.
“Are you a witch?”
John narrowed his gaze. “Yes. So it’s fine you can tell me.”
Lucian didn’t know what to reply. If he said he was a witch, he would be lying and if he said he wasn’t how was he supposed to explain his healing?
“I am not sure if I am one.” He replied instead.
John nodded thoughtfully. “So you never tried to use magic?”
“Well, there is only one way to know if you are a witch, try using magic.” John suggested.
Lucian nodded thoughtfully.
“Wait!” John stood up and left quickly but he was back shortly after with a book in his hand.
“Here.” He said handing him the book. “There are some simple spells here. You can try them.”
Lucian took the book from him. “Thank you.”
“I should go to work now.”
“I should come with you. I...can help with anything.” Lucian suggested.
“Alright then, come on.”
John owned a little shop in a big shopping market. He sold different kinds of fabrics and clothes, mostly women’s. Lucian realized that Johns shop wasn’t very popular as only one man entered the entire time they were there.
“No one is coming to buy anything” Lucian said.
“Yes. That’s how it usually is.” John seemed unbothered by the situation.
“If you are a witch, why don’t you use some magic to attract some customers?” Lucian asked.
John stopped whatever he was doing and gazed at Lucian seriously. “Magic is not something to use easily. If you happen to be a witch remember this.”
Lucian wanted to ask what he meant but before he could a Lady walked into the shop.
“Good day Mr....” She stopped halfway when she laid eyes on Lucian. “Oh...”
Lucian didn’t know what she meant by that but the look in her eyes he knew very well. The admiring, astonished completely captivated by you look. Maybe he should take advantage of that he thought.
Walking up to the woman, “how can I help you?” He asked charmingly.
The woman just stared at him for a few seconds. “Uh...I was looking for some fabric to make a dress.” She said flustered.
Lucian knew nothing about fabrics but John had shown him where he could find fabrics for dresses.
“This way.” He gestured.
While he led the way he could hear her heart beating wildly inside her chest.
“Here.” He said and began to show her a few different fabrics but she wasn’t paying any attention at all. All of her attention was directed at him instead.
“I think this color would suit you very well.” He said picking a light blue fabric and showing it to her.
“Really?” She smiled blushing.
“I will take it.” She decided without even taking a closer look.
The woman paid at the desk then said her goodbye with a dreamy look on her face. After that one visit from her Johns shop became suddenly popular. Women came and went and Lucian knew he was the reason.
“Never had these much customers before,” John said surprised. “You really are popular among women.”
If he only knew. Popular was an understatement. Most women who came to the shop didn’t even need any fabric. They just came to take a look at him, or speak to him, if lucky maybe even get a compliment and at the end of the day they would spend their money and buy that fabric they probably didn’t even need.
“You have really brought luck to my shop.” John said as they walked back home. “You can stay with us as long as you want... as a thank you, and I should give you a salary.”
“That’s very kind of you but I will be leaving soon.”
“Did you remember where to go?”
Lucian wasn’t sure. His memories were a mess and he had been having the worst nightmares lately but there was one thing he knew, one face that haunted his dreams. Pierre. Every night Pierre would come into his dreams and kill him over and over again and Lucian would relive the same agonizing pain. He would wake up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat, his heart beating painfully inside his chest. He would have difficulty breathing as if he was drowning or being choked. How could a dream feel so real that he would feel the pain even after he woke up?
But that wasn’t the worst part. There was something else. Something he couldn’t understand or remember, a part of his dream that was more painful than his death, so painful he would have tears in his eyes when he woke up. What was it? And why couldn’t he remember?
“Yes. I need to go back home.”
Lucian had always wanted a simple life and now he had the chance to live that, yet he was going back to the life he hated. For what? Revenge? What would he gain of it except that his nightmares would end? He could just stay here, start a new life and live freely the way he wanted, yet something drew him to go back. It was as if a part of him was still there, calling for him, waiting for him to come.
“Father.” Elle shouted running and enveloped John in a hug. She would always welcome them both with hugs when they came back from work.
“My little princess.” John smiled as he picked her up then went and gave his wife a kiss on the cheek.
Lucian would always get an odd feeling every time he saw John and Layla together. They seemed deeply in love, and it brought a sense of emptiness, a void in his heart. Why he felt that way he couldn’t explain.
Shaking off the odd feeling once again. Lucian went to his room and closed the door behind him. He wanted to be alone but before he could do anything someone already knocked on the door.
The door opened with a creaking sound and Nora stuck her head inside.
“Am I disturbing you?” She asked innocently.
“No, please come in.”
She walked in, a shy smile on her face. Lucian knew she had a thing for him. The way she blushed or smiled shyly every time he spoke to her, or the way she would peak at him when he wasn’t looking or the way her heart would speed at his closeness. He knew all of that, and even though she was pretty he wasn’t the least interested in her.
“I just wanted to thank you. You have been a great help to my father’s business.” She said.
“No need to thank me. Your family saved my life and let me stay here, I am just repaying the favor.” Lucian explained
She nodded. “My father told me you could be a witch. Have you tried a spell yet?”
Her gaze shifted to the book on the table that her father gave him, to try and learn magic.
“No I haven’t.”
Lucian had been avoiding the book as if he was afraid to know the answer of what he was.
“I could help you...if you want.” She shrugged.
“Thank you but I’ll manage myself.”
“Just be careful.” She warned a little worried.
“Why?” He frowned.
“I can sense your power. You have too much of it.”