The dream was like the ones that people sometimes get when they are very much in love. But it seemed almost too real to have just been a dream. Perhaps it was a memory that was stuck in my subconscious. If it was a memory than it was probably the realest one that I’ve retrieved so far, and the most explicit. I woke up the next morning panting and feeling hot all over my body, especially in between my legs.
There was sunlight sneaking in through the cracks in the barn walls and the roof. I was surprised that I didn’t really feel tired once I was awake, that may have had something to do with how that dream had made me feel. My heart rate was just starting to slow down after a couple minutes of being awake, that’s how intense it had been.
I tried to sit up but I felt like my sides were being weighed down. I looked down at my sides and noticed that Tray was clinging to my left side, and Avin had his arm wrapped around my waist as his head was resting on my right side, both were sound asleep. As I listened I could hear that the rest of the barn was starting to wake up and be active. I tried to wriggle out of their grasps but they both had a firm grip on me. I sighed, laid back down on the ground and smiled up at the ceiling of the barn. I guess I could lay here for a couple more minutes, at least until both Tray and Avin woke up, but then it would be back to business as usual.
It wasn’t too much longer after that that Tray was awake and running around the barn trying to help the healers, but not before stooping down to give me a quick kiss on the cheek. Avin took a bit more time to than I had anticipated to wake up. When he did manage to wake up though he let go of me, yawned, sat up, and stretched a bit before he got a painful reminder that he was still wounded.
“Take it easy, Avin,” I scolded Avin as I tried to get him to lie back down on the ground, so that he won’t over exert himself. “Do you remember where you are?”
Avin looked over at me with wide eye, before slowly nodding. I was happy to see that his eyes were no longer black, they were back to that lilac colour that I loved. I blushed a bit as he looked me directly in the eyes. I hadn’t realized how much of an effect he had on me, because there was no way that I would ever forget a feeling like this. It has been several months since the last time I had seen him, but I didn’t think that he would’ve had this kind of reaction. Avin was staring at me like he was seeing a ghost.
I opened my mouth to ask Avin what was wrong but he never gave me the chance to utter a sound. Faster than I could register I was on the ground underneath Avin’s body. His left arm was under my neck and his right arm was curled around my lower back. I had no idea what he was thinking or where this was going but I was secretly liking it.
“A-are you real?” Avin asked his voice shaking with barely withheld emotions as he stared down at me, his eyes glistening with unshed tears. I froze. I had never seen him act this way towards anyone in the last half a year that I had been here at the camp. My vision flickered to the two of us in a position that was similar to this but the circumstances were different. It was a memory from back when I had first met Avin. Perhaps though, I could use the same response now as I did back then. I smiled mischievously up at Avin.
“Be careful what you ask,” I told Avin as I lifted my head up so that our lips were centimetres from each other. If he was allowed to tease me, then I should be allowed to tease him. “The truth might be scarier than the lie.”
I really wanted to kiss Avin, every fibre of my being was burning. But I wanted him to make the first move, so that I could be sure that he still wanted me. The memories were slowly starting to connect and click back into place, I was just missing the reason as to why I disappeared. I felt sad that Avin had thought that I was dead for over a year, I hadn’t wanted to put him through that kind of pain. I was sure that he had doubts about us and questions, lots of questions. I doubted that I could answer all of them, especially if they entailed anything about my disappearance.
Avin closed his eyes as he shook his head and smiled. I stared back up at his face confused and curious about his reaction. It was a reaction that I was not expecting from him. Then he opened his eyes and I could see the determination that was burning in them.
“I’m never letting you out of my sight again,” Avin whispered fiercely as he stared intently into my eyes. He abruptly closed the distance between our lips and began kissing me passionately. I couldn’t move, Avin had completely pinned me to the floor so that I couldn’t escape. I had the strong urge to re-enact the dream that I had just had of him and me, or I guess the memory of what we did together.
I wrapped my arms around Avin’s back, forgetting for a moment that he was wounded, and lightly dug my nails into his back. Avin growled and moved his free hand up my shirt, and that’s when something went very wrong. I crumpled into a ball as I felt a sharp pain strike across my lower abdomen. I stayed that way until the pain had subsided. The pain didn’t last long, but it was enough to be noticed by Avin and enough that Lucy couldn’t stifle it. Now the other mood was gone as well.
“Lucy, are you okay? What just happened?” Avin questioned me as he looked over me with worry filled eyes.
“Yeah I’m okay I think,” I muttered to him only vaguely aware of his question as I stared down at my abdomen. I was really freaking out on the inside, and hoping that it didn’t show on my face. Hopefully, the only thing that he had been able to see was the mild confusion on my face. I had absolutely no idea what had just happened but there was someone who might be able to tell me what it could be.
“I’ll be back in a couple minutes I have to go talk with Aquaphira about some things, and check the compound to make sure that everything is okay,” I was very proud that my voice sounded as calm as it did. I didn’t understand how I was able to fake this kind of level of calmness, unless I had had plenty of practise in scary situations. I was not really liking the sound of my own theory, however, some of the memories that I had already retrieved sadly confirmed that theory.
I gave Avin a quick kiss on the lips, which made him jump slightly startled, before I got up and left the stall. I did my best to act as casual as possible on my way to Aquaphira’s stall, even stopping occasionally to check in on other healers and patients. I stopped in front of her stall and leaned over the door to look at Aquaphira who was working on a patient that had come in a couple days ago in absolutely deplorable condition.
“Aquaphira, when you get a moment can you come and see me immediately,” I called over to her, trying to sound as casual as possible. I guess my façade had started to slip. I could see the muscles in Aquaphira’s back suddenly stiffen. She paused a moment in her work before she quickly resumed it again.
“Alright, I’ll be out in a couple minutes,” Aquaphira replied calmly, not looking back over her shoulder. If I didn’t know her better, I almost would’ve believed the forced calmness that she presented. I nodded and walked away from her stall and went around the rest of the barn to check the rest of the patients. Just as I was finishing my last check-up with a healer at the far end of the barn, I felt a tug on my pants. I looked down and saw Tray with his arms wrapped around my leg.
“Miss Aqua told me to tell you to meet her in the corral,” Tray told me before he gave my leg another squeeze and ran out of the stall. I chuckled and smiled, silly fox. I checked around one more time to make sure that I was no longer needed in the barn before I left to go to the corral. I was a bit nervous as to what else Aquaphira might know about my situation, especially since she seemed the least familiar in my memories. Even Tray was more familiar to me than Aquaphira was.
I had managed to remember that Tray had been originally from my old kingdom and had been an orphan for two years prior to the war. I had found him when he was small and took him in and raised him in the castle along with the help of the other servants. However, Aquaphira was a different story and I knew next to nothing about her from my past from the memories that I had been able to recover. She may have been involved with me in that last year that I still don’t have any recollection of, or maybe she just really wasn’t involved with me as much.
I spotted Aquaphira standing by the corral with Mirage and another rescue horse standing on either side of her. Umm, what was she doing? As soon as I was within a couple feet of Aquaphira she finally looked up at me and spoke.
“Get on the horse and follow me,” that was all that she had said before she mounted onto the other horse and started trotting away. She didn’t say another word or even turn around to see if I was going to follow her. Did she really expect me to follow her after being given such little information? Aquaphira was nearing the edge of the forest now and didn’t appear to show any signs of slowing down. I guess she did expect me to follow her. I gave Mirage a shrug when she looked down at me, before I mounted onto her back.
Mirage galloped over to where Aquaphira had vanished into the forest with me on her back as we tried to catch up with her. I already had a taste of Aquaphira’s vanishing acts after all the months that we have worked together here at the camp. If she didn’t want to be found, I wouldn’t be able to find her. I was relieved though when we stepped into the forest and there she stood, waiting for me to catch up with her. Aquaphira trotted a little deeper into the forest, and Mirage and I followed close behind. Where could she be leading us?
Suddenly, Aquaphira stopped her horse in the middle of a clearing and dismounted. I stopped Mirage just at the edge of the clearing and dismounted as well. I looked around to where we were and it didn’t really seem all that special. Confused I looked to Aquaphira, but she wouldn’t meet my gaze which was really starting to worry me. I felt my sword press against the surface of my skin as my eyes darted to all the different places where other people could be hiding.
Being this quiet was not like Aquaphira at all. Was it really something so terrible that she had to bring me all the way out into the forest to tell me, or was it something else? No one else would be able to hear what she was going to say that was for sure, but that means that no one would hear me either. I stood up a little straighter, kept my head on a swivel, and my ears open to any sound. I tried to keep my face as blank as possible to try to show that I wasn’t as tense as I actually was.
“So what exactly happened that you needed to see me so immediately for?” Aquaphira asked quietly as she stared at a spot on the ground that was just behind me. I was still a bit suspicious about her demeanor but if she could tell me what was going on with me than that would be fantastic. Just as I was thinking that another painful spasm stabbed me in my abdomen and knocked me to my knees. I quickly put a hand across my mouth as I started to feel nauseated.
“This-this is what I wanted to talk to you about,” I groaned out through my clenched teeth. I felt Aquaphira’s hand rest lightly on my shoulder. I looked up and saw that she was looking down at me very intently.
“I just want to feel around to get a better idea of what’s going on,” Aquaphira told me slowly as she looked me directly in the eyes before dropping her eyes to my abdomen. She moved my shirt around and began to gently pushing around on my abdomen. I managed to straighten up a bit so that it wasn’t so difficult for her to be able to feel around. I watched her work as I was still wary as to why we were so far away from the campsite. I saw Aquaphira’s eyes widen before she slowly lowered my shirt back down and dropped her hands into her lap.
“So you honestly don’t remember what happened for the last year during the start of the war?” Aquaphira asked as her voice shook slightly. “I know you have been gaining some of your memories back but you honestly don’t remember anything from the last year?”
I shook my head slowly not knowing where she was going with the conversation. The weird dream that I had had this morning suddenly sprang to my mind making my face flush a bright crimson. Maybe I did remember something about my last year here before I somehow wound up on Earth. Aquaphira must’ve caught my reaction before I managed to regain my composure because she paused for a moment before continuing.
“Lucinda, a lot of stuff happened in that last year before you disappeared,” Aquaphira started calmly as she played with the edges of her skirt, “both in between the countries and between Zavin and you. Something happened between you and Zavin that no one thought was ever going to be possible, especially you. There were so many different reactions and not all of them were just the regular good or bad, there were some people who were completely outraged by it.”
“What are you talking about? Please just stop beating around the bush about it,” I told Aquaphira exasperated as I felt another sharp pain shoot across my abdomen. I could feel a slight trickle of sweat go down my back though showing my true nervousness.
“I was one of the doctors for the royal family, and Prince Zavin had asked me to check up on you because you hadn’t been feeling well for a while and no one could figure out why,” Aquaphira explained as she sat back on her heels. “He had asked for me to keep it under the radar because he didn’t want anyone else to know of your condition. Zavin had mentioned that he wasn’t sure if any of your healers could be trusted.”
Aquaphira finally looked me in the eyes as she said one thing that flipped my whole world upside down.
“You were pregnant, and still are apparently. No one ever believed that that could be possibly with your mixed blood from two very different species,” Aquaphira relented finally.
“How did that cause a problem for other people?” I asked confused after managing to get my voice back, still in a slight state of shock after being told that I was pregnant. Whatever happened that had made me disappear must’ve put my body into stasis or something for the last few years until I had managed to recover enough.
“Well Prince Zavin’s father, King Regalis, did not like the whole idea of Zavin being with you in the first place. So it only angered the King more when he found out that you were carrying his son’s child. The King considered the blood line to be impure and the child to be a disgusting monstrosity that should not be allowed to live. That was just one of the more vocal people who were not happy with your pregnancy, though neither Zavin nor I knew how he had found out.”
That could explain some of why I felt uncomfortable around King Regalis. What that didn’t explain though was why the King had come into my room while I had been staying at his palace. It also didn’t explain the predatory side glances that he kept giving me when no one was looking. Looks that were the opposite to that of what Avin would occasionally give me when he thought that I wasn’t looking. King Regalis stared at me with open disgust and a sick desire, a thing that I wanted no part of. It kind of felt like déjà vu, like King Reglais had tried to do this before I had disappeared. Hmm, I guess my memory was getting better, but the specific details were still being a bit on the fuzzy side. The idea that he had done something else was no more than just a feeling really, that was stuck at the back of my mind. It kind of felt like a locked away memory like the rest of the memories of that last year that I was here. It was probably a memory that I didn’t want to remember if I had the choice.
I felt a hand land on my shoulder. The suddenness of the contact made me jump backwards and land on my butt on the hard ground. I stared up at Aquaphira, suddenly remembering that she was still there, with my heart pounding in my chest and my eyes wide. I had been so engrossed in my own memories to really be paying attention to Aquaphira.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, I was just wondering if you were okay,” Aquaphira sputtered quickly as she shuffled back a bit, she sounded concerned and a bit sheepish. I was happy though that she was giving me some space and time to recover from my scare.
“It’s alright, I just remembered something that I didn’t really want to,” I told her as I managed to calm myself down. My heart was still racing in my chest but my breathing had gone back to normal.
“Oh I didn’t mean to disturb you while you were trying to remember a part of your past, Lucinda,” Aquaphira commented nervously, but then smiled and chuckled. “But I guess in this case you’ll forgive me?”
I was relieved that Aquaphira was trying her best to make light of the conversation rather than ask more about it. I half smiled up at her as I watched her stand up. Aquaphira reached her hand down to me to help me stand back up.
“So I’m pregnant, that’s what this pain in my abdomen is all about?” I clarified with Aquaphira as I glanced down at my abdomen. I was still a bit unnerved about that fact. At the same time though I felt a bit saddened at the thought of giving birth to children in a world that’s torn apart by war and hate.
“Yes, and don’t be too freaked out if you don’t seem to be gaining any weight, I believe that you had put a protective barrier around the child before and it seems to be still intact. So you can still go around fight bad guys and saving the world just like you used to,” Aquaphira joked as she walked back over to her horse. “Without having to worry about harming your child, of course.”
I nodded slowly taking this in but a thought dawned on me that puzzled and concerned me.
“Does Avin know about our child?” I asked Aquaphira as Mirage came up behind me and nudged the back of my left shoulder. The answer didn’t come from Aquaphira like I thought that it would.
“No, he doesn’t,” Mirage murmured into my head. “You were originally going to tell him but a personal tragedy came up that stopped you.”
“What was it?” I asked Mirage as I rubbed her muzzle which she had rested on my shoulder.
“The death of the Prince’s mother,” Mirage replied as she passed along some of her memories of that time. The scene that she showed me, brought tears to my eyes as my own memories started to come forth. “She died giving birth to her third child, and sadly the child didn’t survive either. The child was underdeveloped and born too early but that wasn’t what had killed the child. The healers that were working on the Queen had made a miscalculation and weren’t paying close enough attention during the birth of the baby, the baby wound up hanging itself with the umbilical cord.”
“Oh,” that was all that I could think to say. There was nothing else that could really be said that would make it sound any less painful or depressing.
“Yeah, that’s what had happened,” Aquaphira murmured over her shoulder as she fixed up her saddle. Mirage must’ve been letting her in on our conversation as well. “You couldn’t bare to tell Zavin after he had just lost his mother to the exact same thing.”
I nodded as I understood the need for the secrecy and discretion on the subject. I was understanding more and more about what I had thought at the time. Perhaps even now it would be bad to tell Avin about my pregnancy, at least not until things had calmed down or until he was needed to be present. It would be just a distraction to him otherwise. I feared that Avin would do risky things to want to try to protect me, more risky than usual.
“Is that all that you had wanted to tell me?” I asked Aquaphira as she mounted onto her horse.
“Yes, well the most important bit anyway,” Aquaphira replied as her horse walked over to me. “We better not stay away for too much longer though or the others may send a search party out after us.”
I nodded and mounted onto Mirage’s back. We rode back to the camp in a peaceful silence.