The Forbidden Village

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Chapter 35

I awoke to the sun shining directly into my eyes, blinding me. I shut them immediately. I could still smell all of those awful smells from the battlefield, but now there was a new smell mixed in with them. I like this new smell a lot more than the other smells. It was like this earthy and woodsy smell like the pine trees, it felt comforting but at the same time so very tempting. I tried to open my eyes again, this time though I let them adjust to the light first.

I was surprised to find that I was outside, and I was even more surprised to find that I was sitting down in the corral. Mirage and Elijah were standing just a couple of feet away from me. Their faces brushed against each other as they gently swayed back and forth in their sleep. The bright light of the dawn caressed their bodies, and made it look like they were glowing.

Very few sounds disrupted the quietness of the dawn, except for the distant sounds of animals in the forest behind us and the wind that was blowing through the trees. Suddenly I moved slightly forward and then back. The thing that moved behind me was warm and soft, it also seemed to be where the wonderful smell was coming from. Was I laying on someone? I turned my head to try to see who I was leaning against.

Avin’s head was resting on top of my left shoulder. But that wasn’t the only thing that I noticed. His arms were wrapped loosely around my waist and rested in my lap. His breath was brushing lightly against my neck, making goosebumps break out all over my skin. He was way too close.

I blushed profusely as I gazed at him. I had no idea what I was supposed to with him being like this. Should I try to wake him up, or should I try to maneuver out his hold? My heart drummed in my chest as I tried to figure out what I should do with him. I could just do nothing I suppose. My face just grew hotter and hotter the longer that that thought stayed in my head.

Avin looked so different up close like this. His skin looked more golden-brown and coppery than I had first thought, and his white hair looked like glittering snow in the growing light of the morning. The scars on the left side of his face did nothing to disturb his beauty. For some strange reason, to me, the scars only enhanced how beautiful he really was.

I was very tempted to reach out and trace the scars on Avin’s face and neck. I was just afraid that he would wake up and be angry with me for doing that without his permission. I knew that he didn’t really like being touched at all by anyone.

I knew that Avin’s arms were around me but I doubt that that had actually meant anything. Although as I looked around I noticed that I was sitting down in between his legs. But then why did he not mind touching me? I mean he even let me sleep on him. Could that mean perhaps he liked me too? My heart thudded in my chest at the thought. I sighed, saddened by my useless hopes and dreams.

Avin was a prince after all, and I was just a healer. He was supposed to marry a princess to help keep the bloodline pure, so I had no place thinking these romantic thoughts towards him. Still, I could just keep these thoughts to myself and maybe help him to be happy in a different way. Even of that meant that I couldn’t stay beside him.

I carefully maneuvered Avin’s head back so that he was now leaning against the fence pole of the corral. I froze. He didn’t stir or wake up. I let out the breath that I hadn’t realized that I was holding in. I gently maneuvered Avin’s arms off of my waist and placed them onto the ground on either side of me. He still didn’t wake up. Man, he was a heavy sleeper.

I turned around and sat on my knees in front of Avin. I still felt a bit stiff and sore but not as bad as what I had experienced last night. I stretched quietly, popping a couple stiff spots in my back, shoulders and arms. I had never been in that much pain before ever.

I think that it might’ve been because I had used up more energy than I actually had available. At least that’s what I had managed to infer from what Aquaphira had said last night. I guess I was going to have to be careful about how much power I used in one sitting.

I looked Avin over again, quickly. I wanted to make sure that he was actually asleep before I got any closer to him. I slowly shuffled closer, keeping my eyes on him to make sure that he didn’t move or wake up. I lifted my hand to Avin’s face and gently traced on the left side of his face. Even though they looked rough and jagged, the scars felt like soft velvet as I brushed my fingertips over them.

I followed the longer scars across Avin’s cheek but I paused at his jawline. I slowly traced his jawline, fascinated by how soft his skin was. He didn’t have any scruffy facial hair anywhere on his face. He didn’t even have any acne or blackheads…lucky bastard…

I moved my hand back to Avin’s scars and traced them the rest of the way down his neck to where his shirt covered up the rest of them. I was tempted to peak underneath his shirt but reconsidered. That was really an invasion of privacy, and that was something that I wouldn’t want someone else to do to me. So I just rested my hand on his chest for a moment and felt his accelerated heartbeat.

I traced the scars back up his neck and gently rested my hand on his cheek. I nibbled on my lip in thought, the urge to kiss Avin had grown so strong that it was almost frightening. The last time that I had felt anything like this it wasn’t nearly as strong. What the heck was going on with me? I understood liking someone and wanting to kiss someone, but this was ridiculous.

Even as I was thinking about that my body started to move on its own. As much as I really wanted to kiss him, I that I shouldn’t without his consent. But hopefully this would be good enough.

I leaned over and lightly kissed the biggest scar on Avin’s face. Just as I pulled back from Avin someone above me cleared their throat. I whipped my head up, startled. Val was perched on top of the fence just above Avin and I. I stumbled backwards in my hurry to get to my feet and away from Avin.

I stared up at Val, not sure whether I should be embarrassed or mad. But he was just sitting on the fence trying, and failing, not to laugh with his hand covering his mouth. I could see that Val was trying to calm down from his laughing fit but I was still too stunned from him just suddenly appearing out of nowhere like that to really comprehend what exactly was going on. Once my heart stopped slamming against my ribs I was able to think a little more clearly.

“How long have you been sitting there?” I asked angrily, as I clenched and unclenched my hands. Val was starting to make me feel extremely irritated and anxious. He was wearing plain clothes that were similar to what Avin was wearing, except he had arm guards on that went up to his elbow.

“Relax, I haven’t been here all that long,” Val replied smiling, and then he winked at me. “But I was here just long enough to see something juicy.”

I felt my face flush with an immense amount of heat. I took a deep breath in through my nose to try to calm myself down. I tried to focus on something else to help with calming myself down faster. The smells of everything around me did help a little bit. That is until I smelled the blood and smoke wafting off of the open battlefield.

I had a feeling that today was not going to be an easy day. Once I had calmed down enough that I could speak without sounding like I wanted to strange Val, I looked up at him with a very serious tone.

“What are you doing here?” I asked as I reverted to a more business like attitude.

“I’m here to help you guys however I can,” Val told me still smiling but he seemed to be more serious now.

“Very well,” I said and then glanced down to Avin before looking back up to Val. “Is he always such a heavy sleeper?”

Val jumped down from the fence and landed in a crouched position next to me. He turned around in his crouched position and faced Avin. He looked slightly confused but then shrugged it off and stood up.

“Not usually, but I assume that he’s just trying to gather up as much energy as possible since he won’t be able to get much sleep once he’s out on that damn battlefield,” Val commented, his smile had disappeared and his tone had become flat. It appeared that he didn’t like this war any more than the people that worked here. After all they had to deal with the consequences of the war on a daily basis. “So what did you have I mind?”

Val’s question dragged me from my thoughts. I had to really think about it for a second before responding to his question. It had just caught me slightly off guard.

“Well, I’m going to need to sort through everyone that works here, then I’m going to go check on the patients, and then supervise whatever else I need to,” I told Val as I counted each one of them off on my fingers.

“Wait, what do you mean sort?” Val asked, he sounded very confused. Right, I forgot that he wasn’t here when we found out exactly how many healers were actually working here. Oh boy this was going to be difficult to explain. Well not difficult, but it’s not something that I’m proud to reveal.

“Yesterday I found out that we actually only had a handful of healers not including myself,” I told Val as I rubbed my chin in thought. “Everyone else that we have here is either a warrior elf, a nature elf or a builder elf.”

Val’s mouth dropped open, and his eyes widened so far that I thought his eyes might fall out of their sockets. It appears that no one really knew what was going on in their kingdom. I hadn’t really talked to Sally since she had told Avin to do the exact thing that I had thought that she wouldn’t want him to do, especially after that whole big speech in the greenhouse. I was just getting this odd vibe from her ever since King Regalis had been killed.

Speaking of which the death of King Regalis seemed rather suspicious. He was in the throne room in the middle of the night, why? The guy that I had fought really wasn’t that strong at all either, an experienced fighter like the King would’ve had no problem dispatching him. So how had he gotten the better of King Regalis? Oh, headache was coming on again.

“H-how did it get so low?” Val stuttered, he looked completely stunned. “Why are there so few healers left?”

I shrugged in response. I had no real idea either. Suspicious as to why we had so few? Oh yeah. But I had no evidence to support any of them. I glanced down at Avin and then up at the barn where some of the people had already started to gather.

“You should gather everyone up than, I’ll watch Avin,” Val commented from beside me. I turned my head to him and smiled a weary smile before I vaulted over the fence, and began to walk towards the middle barn where people had started to congregate.

I had to get this thing sorted before something else traumatic happened. I found Aquaphira leaning against the outside of the barn with her chin to her chest and her eyes closed like she might’ve been sleeping. I lightly jogged over to her, needing to talk to her first.

When I was about two-thirds of the way to Aquaphira, she opened her eyes and looked up at me. She seemed to be pretty tired. Her eyelids were still drooping over her eyes and she was still slouched against the barn wall. Aquaphira looked like she was going to fall back to sleep at any second.

“Are you okay, Aquaphira?” I asked concern as I stopped in front of her. I looked her over quickly to see if there was anything that was physically wrong with her. Aquaphira nodded before rubbing her eyes and stretching out her arms.

“Just not ecstatic about what horrors today might bring,” Aquaphira muttered to me as she raised her head up to meet my eyes. Her eyes looked so sad that I couldn’t help what I did next. I quickly walked the short distance between us and hugged Aquaphira, tightly.

“We won’t have any tragedies today, I promise,” I whispered to Aquaphira as I hugged her. I didn’t know if I could keep that promise but I would try my very best to do so. Aquaphira hugged me back and whispered a very quiet thank you into my shoulder.

When we let go I noticed that Aquaphira had streaks of water going down her face. This war was really putting a huge pressure on everyone to not make mistakes. But if we don’t make mistakes than how do we learn not to do things a certain way?

Aquaphira quickly rubbed away her tears and tried her best to smile. Now that I knew what was underneath, I knew better than to believe that smile. I smiled back anyway and told her what I needed to do before we did anything else today.

Aquaphira listened intently to what I was saying before running off to gather everyone else up. It didn’t take very until everyone was gathered in front of the main barn. Even Val and Avin had managed to join the group as well, and stood in the very back row.

“Today everyone is going to be getting their new and permanent positions before we start any of today’s chores,” I announced to the group of people that was standing before me. There were some murmurs about what this could mean but they were quietly shushed. “I need all of the people that are actually trained healers to move to the left while everyone else moves to the right, so that there is a gap in between the two groups. Quickly please.”

The two groups were quickly formed while Avin and Val backed away from the groups, hopefully to try to keep me from getting confused on who was actually working for me. Just as I had thought, there was only six healers in the entire camp not including myself. The other 14 people wouldn’t look at me and I wasn’t too sure why. Were they embarrassed by the events?

Avin and Val had walked around the groups and now stood against the barn wall a couple feet from me. It seems that Tray had joined them as well. He was leaning on the barn next to Avin, watching everything with such curiosity.

“Now everyone else I’m going to need to know what classes you are from so that I can place you properly,” I told the remaining 14 people.

I walked towards the group and asked each person one at a time what their class was. I kept a tally in my head of who was what. When I had finished I had ended up with five nature elves, four warrior elves and five builder elves. I backed away from the group and stared out at the charred wasteland, deep in thought.

I needed to find places for them to work here because we really needed all of the help that we could get. The nature class could deal with the animals, the garden and they could prepare herbal remedies for the healers. The builder class could help with the repairs that still needed to get done and any more buildings that we may need to add. The warrior class would need to learn some minor healing techniques, but after that they could be the defenders and scouts for wounded people who couldn’t make it to the camp from the charred lands. Hopefully this will be all worth it in the end and make the work load easier on everyone involved.

I turned around and explained my plans for the other 13 people; who all looked very relieved when I told them what would be happening. As soon as I had finished explaining the healers, of their own accord, paired themselves up with the warriors to start teaching them. The nature elves set out to the gardens at the back of the barn that were just started yesterday, and the building elves left to finish the repairs on all of the large structured buildings. The only people that were left were Val, Avin, Tray and myself.

I would probably go check the patients and I think that tray might just go around and assist people in whatever way that he could. But I wasn’t too sure what Avin and Val were going to be doing.

“What you guys going to be doing?” I asked as I walked towards the three young males.

“I’m going to help out wherever I can,” Val replied before walking around the corner of the barn

“Me too,” Tray commented before he gave Avin a hug and ran off to follow Val.

“I’m going to be leaving,” Avin commented quietly, his face was the usual expressionless mask. “I hadn’t planned on staying this long.”

“Oh…right, I almost forgot,” I said trying to sound as nonchalant as I could and I even managed to force a half smile. Although I was pretty sure that it wasn’t enough to hide how I really felt, and I was afraid that Avin saw.

Avin closed the distance between us with such suddenness that I took a step back. But Avin’s hand was around my back and it prevented me from moving away from him. He was much taller than me so I had to crane my neck to look up at his face. Avin still looked sad but there was a sort of hunger in his eyes that made my heart jump in my chest, and my body started to shake with something that I’ve never felt towards anyone before, desire. I’ve never desired anyone like this before I was brought into this world. Now though I wasn’t too sure what to do about these feelings that I had towards the man in front of me.

Before I could ask what Avin was doing, he lifted my chin his hands trembled ever so slight and then he kissed me. It’s not like it was my first kiss or anything but it sure knocked all of the other ones out of the park. His lips were soft and gentle like he was afraid that he was going to hurt me or that I was going to make break for it. I don’t think that Avin really understood exactly how dangerous of a mood that he had just made. But I loved every second of it.

As soon as I started to kiss Avin back though, I got a massive headache and started to see images zoom through my mind. It felt like they were trying to attach to some form of connectors in mind. I managed to grasp a couple of the images before the headache became too much for me to bare. I lightly pushed away from the kiss, making the headache just bearable now but I also felt lost. I had really liked kissing him but I just didn’t understand what those images were.

Avin was still holding me, probably confused about what he was supposed to do next. I couldn’t very well just tell him what had happened to, because I didn’t even really know what had happened. Perhaps I could use my over excursion from last night as an excuse for why I had to pull away.

“Sorry I’m still just a bit lightheaded from last night,” I told Avin, smiling nervously. I did feel slightly woozy but I don’t think that it was because of last night. Avin looked like he was considering what I had said.

“Do you feel a bit better now?” Avin asked as he moved his hand up to the middle of my back from where it had been on my waist. Not by a long shot, but I couldn’t really tell him that because I didn’t want him to be worried while he was out fighting. So I just smiled and nodded instead. “Okay, I should probably saddle up Elijah and be on my way.”

Avin led me around to the entrance of the middle barn where I was to work with the other healers. I turned around to face him as we came upon the entrance of the building. I starting to feel a lump in my throat as I faced Avin. I didn’t want him to leave. I was afraid that he wasn’t going to come back. There was a slight glazed over look in his eyes that made me think that there was something else going on inside his head.

“Be careful, please,” I didn’t mean to say it like a question but that’s how it came out.

“I’ll try my best,” Avin replied but his smile seemed a bit more sad than usual. I was afraid he also thought that he wasn’t going to make it back either. I didn’t want to act like I was say good bye but I wanted him to know that I felt the same way towards him as he felt towards me. I quickly stretched up on my tiptoes and kissed Avin hard on the lips.

I could feel my lips quiver against Avin’s revealing, by accident, how scared I really was about him leaving. Before Avin could react though, I moved away from him and walked over to the barn door without saying another word. I put a hand on the edge of the door and turned my head to the side just lightly to look back at Avin.

Avin looked slightly surprised, with a light pink glow on his cheeks. I watched his mouth turn to into a small smirk before he gave me a quick bow and walked away to the corral. I sighed and pulled open the barn door. I closed the door behind me and leaned against it while closing my eyes. I could feel my mouth twitch up into probably a ridiculous looking smile. I seriously hoped that no one had seen that.

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