Crucible Vows

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Chapter 34

I sat there. Waiting for her to wake up. The healer that cared for her wound said that they caught it in time to keep her alive. She used the Moris Rose and healing magic to get the bleeding to stop. That was three days ago. I never left her side. And none of the other Knights tried to remove me. With the witnesses that saw us at the gates, it became known that we were close. My clasped hands rested against my lips as my elbows were propped on my knees. They had carefully set her so she wasn’t putting too much weight on her wound. I just wanted her to wake up so I knew she was safe.

I lost track of time. The days blended together. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I remained in one spot, just watching her, and waiting for her to wake up. I sat there and waited. I waited for a move, a sound, something. Reaching out, I grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze. My hope was beginning wane. If she didn’t wake up soon, she probably never would.

The healer walked in. “Any change?”

I silently shook my head.

“Alright,” she said. “Come get me if anything happens.”

I nodded silently, and my eyes remained on the young woman in front of me. I took in a sharp breath and dropped my head. I was too exhausted to sleep. As much as I wanted to close my eyes and sleep, I couldn’t. I don’t think I could unless Elora woke up.

Several more hours passed, and I stayed where I sat. My mind was blank and I was zoned out. Sitting there, I simply kept praying for Elora to wake up. It felt like my prayers fell on deaf ears though. I had been praying since the first day that she would wake up.

“Luna!” She suddenly woke up and sat up straight.

I jumped to my feet. “I’m right here, Elora.”

Her breaths came out hard and in pants. She turned towards me and stared at me, as if she were trying to recognize who I was. Clarity came to her features and she bit her lip. Her eyes began to gloss over with tears and she fell forward. I wrapped my arms around her and gave her a strong hug, being sure to avoid the wound on her back.

“I thought I had lost you.” She whispered through some soft sobs.

My arms tightened around her. “I thought I had lost you. Don’t you ever step in between me and a blade again.”

Elora pushed away just enough to look me in the eyes. “Then don’t get into a situation where I have to do that.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “I didn’t want to be in that situation in the first place. Arlen just attacked me. But what were you doing climbing the palace wall?”

“Arlen locked me in my room. That was the only way I could escape to get to you.” She explained.

“You could have fallen!” I argued.

“But I didn’t! If I hadn’t of done that, you could have died.” She responded.

A sigh escaped my chest. “Does our first conversation after all this have to be a fight?”

She blinked before speaking. “Is it really a fight? Or us just letting out all our built-up emotions that we’ve held in for so long?”

I let out another sigh and pulled her closer. “Maybe.”

“Luna.” I felt her head move so she was looking up at me. “Why did you follow me here? You seemed so skeptical when I first suggested it.”

“When you suddenly left Alovia...” I started. “I realized very quickly that I didn’t want to live in a world without you. King Darien made it possible for me to come here safely. But I didn’t expect you to be preparing for a wedding. And by the sounds of it with Arlen.”

She pushed me a way. “I am not marrying that man.”

A feeling of relief came to my chest. “You aren’t?”

“He wanted to force me to marry him so he could become King.” Elora’s eyes showed rage just talking about it. “He wanted to make my Kingdom one of warring obligation rather than peaceful opportunity. That’s not what I want for my people.”

“Then why did you leave without telling me?”

Her eyes cast downwards. “He threatened to have you killed if you found out. I couldn’t take the risk. I had to get him far away from you so I had the chance to figure out a solution to my problem and keep you safe.”

My hand went to her cheek and she leaned into the touch. I gazed into her eyes. She went through all of that to keep me safe. Elora was an incredible young woman, and she would make a fantastic Queen. The question was, would I be allowed to stay by her side? I shifted out of my chair and knelt before her. Placing my hand over my heart, I bowed my head to her and pleaded my case.

“Your Highness, Princess Meira.” I began. “I am not a Knight in shining armor. You have seen my flaws. You have seen my scars. But it is my wish that I remain by your side. I desire to see you and yours prosper. I give you my oath that I will protect you for the remainder of my life, if you’ll have me.”

I looked up at her. Her eyes were soft as they looked down to me. She moved until she was sitting on the edge of the bed and placed a hand on my shoulder. Slowly, it trailed up until it landed on my jaw and her thumb rubbed my skin.

“I don’t want a Knight in shining armor, Luna.”

My eyes widened for a moment.

“A Knight in shining armor tells me one of two things.” She bent closer to me. “They’ve had no experience in protecting those who need it. Or they are vain enough to spend ours buffing out and polishing the armor over and over to look good. I don’t want that.”

My heart began to beat a little faster as she spoke.

“Give me the Knight with dented armor that’s covered in mud and soot.” She smiled. “Give me the Knight who will run into a fire to get anyone trapped out. Give me the Knight who will disobey order from the King to get someone to safety. Give me the Knight who will teach someone how to defend themselves so when he can’t they can still be safe. Give me the Knight who will follow someone across countries to stay by their side. I want the Knight with a green lion crest on his shoulder who said he loved me.”

I stared into her warm eyes as she gave me a smile.

“I don’t want to live in a world without you, Luna.” She repeated my words. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I closed the gap between us and pressed my lips to hers. This one was different from our first. Whereas that one felt more like a goodbye. This one felt as though we were starting a new chapter. It felt comfortable and welcoming. It was home.

My hand went up to her cheek and I pulled her closer to me. Deepening the kiss, I let one hand go to the small of her back. She leaned into me and her hands went up my chest until they rested behind my neck. I pulled away and pressed my forehead to hers. We sat there for a moment, just enjoying each other’s company.

A hiss of pain escaped her lips and I jumped back. “Are you okay?”

“Now...” She responded with jest. “I’m feeling the pain.”

I carefully placed my hand on her back and transferred the pain to me. It wasn’t the worst hurt I’ve experienced, but if it helped her, I’d do it again. A breath of relief came out her mouth and she relaxed a bit more.

“Your healer will be applying a Moris Rose ointment on your back daily until it’s completely healed. You’re going to have quite a scar though.” I told her.

“That’s okay. A scar is fine.” She gave me another smile.

“What are you going to do about Arlen?”

She grabbed my hand. “The Law of Agents made it clear that his actions to take over were an act of treason. During this time for my Kingdom, I am the only one with the authorities to change things or control over the state of the country. He will stand trial and I will pass judgement on him. After that, I’ll work on getting Nythstaesi back to before. Where it lived in peace and happiness. My alliance with Alovia will help keep us safe.”

I nodded. “I think that’s a good idea. I’ll stay by your side the entire time.”

“I’d like that.”

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