12. New Home
I stood staring at the blazing sun right outside the garden. My arms crossed over my chest as I observed some of the guard’s fight.
“Here you are,” Noah says as he stands next to me.
“What do you want, Noah?” I asked, without taking my eyes off the men.
“Go and pick Mila up. She must be waiting for us,” Noah chuckled. I looked at him from the side. He had this mischievous look on him that annoyed me.
Standing straight, I turn and walk away. Noah couldn’t be ordering me around. He was well aware I hated to be ordered.
Passing by the horse carriages, I notice two guards preparing the carriage.
“Is this to pick up the Saintess?” I asked both men, who flinched.
“Y-Yes, your highness,” one of them answered. I nodded and approached the horse.
I knew Mila didn’t like the attention from the palace. So picking her up from a carriage wasn’t the best idea, especially if I was to go.
I sighed and turned around.
“I will take this horse. I will go pick the saintess,” I said as I asked for my cloak.
“Excuse us, but King Noah….”
“I am giving you an order,” I spat, making them bow their heads.
I groaned and untied the horse. Once they brought my cloak, I got on the horse and left the castle.
We galloped into the plaza. The entire place was bustling with people as some sold their goods, and the young ones played along the way. I looked around, trying to spot Mila’s black hair.
A burst of laughter has me snapping my head to the side. It was the most beautiful laugh I have heard. Meeting Mila’s gaze, my heart beat faster than it already was.
Mila’s eyes widened, but she quickly composed herself.
Getting off the horse, I head towards her small stall. Mila wasn’t alone, and that made me curious.
“Greetings, Saintess,” I said with a slight bow. Mila nodded my way as I noticed her strange behavior. I frowned and saw two other ladies behind her. “Good day.”
“Good day,” the woman with red hair said. Her eyes immediately moved towards Mila, who looked uncomfortable.
I quickly glanced in Mila’s way.
“May I have a word with you?” I asked her. They couldn’t see my face, but I had a hunch they were guessing who I was. It seemed like it was a good idea to leave the carriage behind.
“Please follow me,” Mila said as she tugged on my cloak. I looked over my shoulder and saw the woman glaring at us. “Why are you here?”
“Tell me first what is wrong?” I asked, changing the question. Mila flinched but kept her head up. “Mila, talk to me.”
“Take me away, please,” Mila said as she lowered her head.
“What do you mean?” I asked her.
Was something wrong?
“Please, I beg you not to ask questions. Just take me to the palace,” Mila pleaded. I frowned, not understanding where all this was coming from.
“Did that woman do something?” I asked her. Mila snapped her head up and shook it quickly. “Lies.”
“I- I just want to go. So stop asking unnecessary things!” Mila blurted angrily. “Take me, or I will not go.”
I sighed in defeat and looked back at the woman. There was another girl who looked like Mila, standing close to her. Her eyes are full of curiosity as I look between them.
“Your sister?” I asked, pointing at the girl.
“Yes, Aria is my sister,” Mila sighed. “Now, can we go?”
“No, until you explain why you are acting like this,” I spat back. Her eyes met mine, and she clenched her jaw. “Where is my stubborn girl?”
“Your girl?” Mila scoffed. “Since when am I your girl?”
I chuckled and stared at her face. Mila was quite beautiful.
“Hey! Stop staring! Now let’s go, or we will get stopped,” Mila mumbled as she walked back to her stall. I frowned at her words. What did she mean by that? “I’m leaving.”
“No, you’re not!” the woman with red hair snapped.
I stood on the side, observing them. Who was she?
“I am!” Mila barked back. She looked furious.
The woman rushed to Mila’s side. My hand immediately moved to my dagger, under my cloak.
“Mother, please!” Mila’s sister hissed as she held her mother’s arm. So that was Mila’s mother? “Stop it!”
The woman stood her ground. She grasps Mila’s arm.
“We talked about this!” she hissed. Mila winced as my eyes looked at her arm. She was digging her nails into Mila’s flesh.
“ENOUGH!” I growled, making them look at me.
I had no intentions of doing this, but I had to, for Mila’s sake.
I reached for my hood and pulled it down, showing my face to them.
“Enough of this. The saintess comes with me,” I said as calmly as possible. Mila’s mother backed away in shock as she looked at me. “Mila, come with me,” I said, extending my hand.
Mila looked at it. Some tears brimmed in her eyes as she gulped her fear down. I didn’t know what was happening, but I had to take her away.
“Mila,” I whispered this time. Then, reaching for a bag, Mila puts her hand over mine. I squeezed it and started walking away from the stall with her.
Several of the townspeople stared at us. However, I had revealed my face, so they all kept their distance.
“It’s that bastard!” someone yelled from the crowd.
“The sinner!” another yelled.
“Leave you, bastard!”
“Yes, leave. You shouldn’t be here. Leave, sinner!”
I kept walking, ignoring all their shouting. As we reached the horse, I stopped and let Mila’s hand go. I quickly got on the horse and offered my hand again. Mila looked around as the people kept yelling words of hate. Her face is full of confusion, sadness, and worry.
“Let’s go, Mila,” I whispered, making her look at me. A sad smile played on my lips as I noticed the tears falling down her red cheeks.
Mila nodded and grabbed ahold of my hand. I smiled as I helped her sit. Then, pulling on the reins, we leave the plaza. We were close to going when someone threw a brick. My eyes widened as I covered Mila’s body protectively.
Were they crazy? Mila was with me, couldn’t they see it?
The people started throwing more stuff, so I covered Mila with my body. Then, I pulled the reins and galloped faster.
My head rested on Zion’s chest as he covered my body and face with his cloak and arms. What was wrong with the people?
A wincing sound has me pushing away. I looked up just to see blood trickling down Zion’s face. I gasped and covered my mouth as he just smiled sadly down at me.
Zion put his arm back on my shoulders and pulled me against his chest. We rode in silence until we finally came to a halt. I raised my face in panic and looked around us. We were somewhere near the castle road.
“Zion,” I whispered. My hand moved to his face, which dripped with blood. My fingers tremble as I touch his wound.
I backed away from him and looked for something to clean his face. I needed to treat his wound quickly.
“Zion…” I mumbled as I quickly dabbed his wound. My hands couldn’t stop shaking as I stared at him.
Feeling his stone hand on my wrist, I met his gaze.
“It’s all right,” Zion muttered.
“All right?” I snapped. “You’re hurting Zion! Those damn people!”
Zion chuckled as I groaned at him.
“Stop laughing!” I said, punching him in his chest.
“Sorry, you look too cute,” Zion blurted, making me blush. My hand stopped moving as he smiled down at me. Perfect chiseled face and white teeth. “Sorry to have worried you.”
Zion brushed his fingers against my cheeks.
“I never wanted you to see that,” Zion continued. I gulped a lump and nodded at him. My head rested on his chest as he engulfed me in a hug.
The rest of the ride was silent. I could feel Zion’s anger through his arm that held me in place. Finally, I let out a sigh and turned to look at the castle over the hill.
“I should treat that wound,” I said as Zion helped me down the horse.
“No, it’s all right,” Zion shook his head. I rolled my eyes and grabbed his arm. “Mila?”
“Hurry,” I ordered, dragging him in. We walked to his room, as most of the servants looked at us strangely. Have they never seen Zion with a woman?
It was annoying, but I couldn’t stop. Zion was stubborn, and he wouldn’t let me treat him if he continued being stubborn.
“Your highness, Saintess!” both guards at Zion’s room said in unison.
“Leave us,” I ordered, making their eyes go wide. Even Zion looked at me, surprised. I threw him a glare to hush him, which Zion just laughed off.
Once they closed the doors, I stopped and let go of his hands. I dropped my bag and put my hands on my hips.
“Undress,” I ordered, as my eyes roamed his body for any injury.
“Excuse me?” Zion snapped
“I order you to undress, now do it!” I said as our eyes met. Zion just glared at me. Was he not going to do it? “Zion, stop behaving like that. Also, I’ve seen you already.”
“Yes, but just my chest,” Zion smirked. “But I, saintess, I’ve seen you completely naked.”
Zion closed the space between us as my face turned beet red. I turned around, embarrassed. How could I have forgotten that?
I put my hands over my red face and tried to remain calm. Then, taking a deep breath, I turn but gasp as I find Zion close to me.
“Z-Zion?” I stuttered. I took a step back, but I had the bed behind me. “Space!”
“Why? Are you embarrassed?” Zion whispered close to me. Our faces were inches from each one. “Is the saintess embarrassed after showing me her body?”
I tried to move, but Zion put each of his arms around me.
“Answer me, Mila,” Zion whispered close to my ear.
My hands moved to his arms as I felt his body heat. Yet, strangely, I felt like I wanted him to touch me more.
“I need to treat your wound,” I mumbled, making Zion sigh.
“It’s nothing, Mila. I won’t die from this,” Zion said and backed away.
I reached for him but pulled my hand as he turned around. What was wrong with me?
I fisted my hands and gulped down this strange feeling.
“It’s my job,” I said breathlessly. Then, finally, Zion turned to look at me.
“Why are you so embedded in helping me? Don’t you see it’s all worthless?” Zion spat coldly. “You saw what happened down back on the plaza. Nothing will change if I’m healed.”
“Why are you so stubborn?” I asked.
“That’s the truth, Mila. There’s nothing more, just truth. Healing me won’t change the fact that I’m a sinner,” Zion said, meeting my gaze. “So it’s best if you return and forget about this.”
My fingers dug into the leather of my skirt.
“So why did you pick me up?” I asked. My chest ached. “Tell me!”
Zion shook his head.
“It was my brother’s orders,” Zion answered as he walked away from me.
I stood like the idiot I was. Then, releasing the grip on my skirt, I sighed.
“But I’m not planning to return,” I whispered dejectedly.