As we continued to travel, our bond grew. Luna’s kindness towards me was always welcoming and never ending. I grew to care for him more and enjoyed our talks. It became a fun game for us to ask random questions that came to our minds to learn more about each other. The stranger the question, the better. And Luna had plenty that always brought a smile to my face. Sometimes I even forgot that I was running for my life.
“I got you this...” Luna’s voice suddenly pulled me out of my thoughts. “At the last town.”
He held out a cloth of some sort in front of me as he kept Zealot moving forward. I grabbed the simple fabric and examined it. A headband? I looked back at him, but his eyes remained on the road.
“As we get closer to the central part of Obrenor, you’ll encounter more prejudice. It would be a little easier on you if your ears were covered.” He explained, almost sounding ashamed to bring up the subject.
I was proud to be an Elf, but I understood why he would think of this. And I scolded myself for not thinking of it sooner. If no one knew I was an Elf then I would have been safer. I pulled the headband over my head and moved it and adjusted it until I could get my long-pointed years to hide in it. My short hair covered the rest of my ears so they didn’t poke out like they normally did. It actually warmed my ears a bit more too.
I heard a breath escape Luna’s chest, as if he were holding it in at the gift. I glanced back and gave him a smile.
“Thank you.” I responded. “I should have thought of that.”
“I wish you didn’t have to worry about it.” He admitted. “But I can’t change people’s minds from something they learned from a political figure.”
I raised my eyebrows in understanding and looked back to the road. I could tell we were getting closer to the Capital thanks to towns being closer together. We also didn’t need to go faster than a trot most of the time. But I will admit, at the time I was getting more and more scared the closer we came to the central part of the kingdom that attacked my people.
“What was something you enjoyed doing at home?” Luna struck up another conversation.
I thought for a moment. “I loved to read.”
“Oh, come on.” He said as he pulled the horse to a stop and looked down at me.
“Everyone say reading.” Luna’s voice had a teasing annoyance in it.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Hey, I grew up in a family that encouraged education. I loved reading all kinds of books. They took me somewhere new. They let me explore worlds of myth and legend. I learned so much from those books.”
Luna stared at me for a bit.
“Nothing.” He responded kindly. “You’re just passionate about reading. And I like hearing people talk about their passions.”
I felt a blush rise to my cheeks and I quickly turned away. There was a moment of silence between us.
“I believe it’s my turn to tell you something then.” Luna kept the conversation going.
I thought for a bit, trying to come up with a question. As I kept thinking Luna urged Zealot forward. It wouldn’t be too much longer until we reached the next town. I was already weary and tired for the day. Though I spent most of the day on the back of a horse with cold armor pressing against my back.
“What’s something you never expected to do in your life?” I found a question that I desired an answer.
Luna pulled his horse to a stop again. He looked down, not gazing at anything in particular as he thought. In my heart, I hoped that his answer wasn’t anything bad that would lead him to trouble or worse.
“I am currently defying orders.” He eventually answered.
My eyes widened and I turned more to face him. “Luna...”
“When I asked the King for permission to take you to Alovia,” his eyes remained now. “He was against it. Partially because we don’t have good relations with Alovia. But when he asked why, I told him you were a refugee. He quickly found out that you were an Elf and he demanded that I bring you to the Capital so he could ‘deal with you’ himself.”
My heart began to race. We were getting close to the Capital. What if Luna decided to change his mind and take me to the King? What if this was all a trap to make me feel safe before stabbing me in the back? I felt an urge to jump off of the horse and make a run for it. But an arm went around my waist. I looked up at Luna as he pulled me closer to him.
“I know you’re scared.” He responded. “But I decided to take you to Alovia, no matter what the King ordered. You have my word, as a Knight, that you will arrive to Alovia safely. After that, we can go our separate ways.”
My hands gripped the fabric of his tunic tightly. Despite his words, I was still terrified at the fact that we were still heading towards the Capital. Though he promised my safety and protection, I was still scared that something would happen and I would die. But my fear of death was overshadowed by another fear. Luna was disobeying orders from the King. If he were caught, he would be removed as a Knight. Or he’d be tried for treason and killed. I felt the sting of tears in my eyes, but I didn’t want them to fall.
“Luna,” I looked up at him. “If the King finds out...”
He reached up and grabbed one of my hands, trying to give comfort. “I won’t let that happen.”
I shook my head. “But if it does, you’ll be in serious trouble. You could be killed for disobeying orders.”
His grip on my hand tightened. “But I’m not going to let you die simply because you’re an Elf.”
“You can’t put your life on the line because of me.” I pleaded.
“I won’t let you be killed just because of who you are!” His response was loud and harsh, causing me to shut up.
There was a small trembling in his hands. I couldn’t tell if it was because of me or him. My gaze dropped. A sigh came from Luna gain and he used his free hand to tilt my chin up to look at him again.
“Let’s not worry about possibilities that may not happen.” He responded. “I’m going to take us around the Capital rather than through. We should be fine. And I promised to get you to Alovia. I keep my promises.”
He wiped away a tear with his thumb right as it fell. A warmth entered my chest as he spoke and he turned back to guiding Zealot on. The rest of the ride was quiet, and we found a town that had an opening in the inn. Luna paid for the room and guided us up to it.
“Go ahead and get some rest.” He told me, indicating to the bed.
“You need rest too Luna.” I responded. “You’ve watched over me ever since we started this adventure.”
He shook his head. “I’m a light sleeper. I’ll just make sure that things are secure.”
“Please,” he begged. “Elora. Don’t fight me right now.”
I was silenced and turned to the bed. As I settled under the covers, a wave of exhaustion flowed over me. Warmth from the fire and the blankets engulfed me. Even though I heard the sound of armor and chainmail clashing as Luna moved, I quickly was able to fall into slumber.