"Why do you haunt me like this. Always in my dreams, I can touch you, smell you..."
Shaking his head, face taught with despair and anger, he turns away to face the wall.
Lucien's punched the hard stone wall with his fist. The rock wall crumbles and cracks a little with the force of his blow, grey fragments tumbling to the ground. The skin on his knuckles was torn from the impact of his blow his fist stained red with crimson blood.
"This can't be real.."
Shoulders tense, he mutters under his breath..
Closing and opening his hand, he ponders..
The pain in his hand was real enough.
With shaking fingers, his thick fingers of his unhurt hand, callused from the sword, he reaches out..
.....Lucian gently caresses Sera's cheek. Sera doesn't even blink, feeling like a deer in the headlights. She doesn't know what to think, what to say, how to breathe, her chest feeling tight and heavy with sadness. She can only drink in the sight of him.
Long silence. Sera bites her lip.
He's getting married soon. She shouldn't confuse things. But still...
Slowly, she raises her hand, and grips the hand that cups her cheek. The slight warmth emitted from her hand, and the touch that feels all too real startles Lucien. His eyes widen, eyes clearing from a hazy look, comprehending, this isn't a dream.
He withdraws his hand from her cheek and lets her go, stepping back from her.
The blood from his knuckles, hand falling limply to his side, drips onto the floor.
Wringing her hands, Sera glancing down at the smooth stone floor, at the unlit lamps on the wall, at the red droplets, anywhere but directly at him.
Lucien reaches inside his shirt, and takes out a necklace with a long chain, ring on one end.
He whispers a few words to the ring and kisses it.
Ugly, bitter jealousy rears its monstrous head within Sera, wondering if his bride-to-be had given him that ring.
Until light begins to emit from the ring, a vertical beam shooting up that shines brighter and brighter. A keen, humming noise, and Sera's body feels weightless.
With a crackling sound, the light dims, and Sera squints her eyes, adjusting to the different lighting. The hallway where they met, was bright with the midmorning sun that shined through sparkling clean windows. Now, she was in a dark room, curtains drawn, letting in only small streaks of light. Lucien was gone. Did she just dream of the encounter?
The room was too dim to see anything. Tapping one foot in front of the other, looking for the tassel the would pull back the curtains, she finally finds and grabs the corded rope, pulls.
Sunlight streams in. Beyond the windows, lay a beautiful garden. The famous Thornmere palace garden, filled with roses of every possible color. Not just the usual red and pink roses, but white, green, yellow, even blue roses bloomed, splashes of color heavily leaning onto the neatly lined stone pathways. Designed by King Lucien's mother, it was known across the continent, the subject of stories and artworks created by only the famous artists and writers. The garden was strictly managed as royal property and thus was only looked upon the royal family, and those they specially allowed. It was said that King Lucien's mother loved to bring in promising artists to share its beauty with. His mother considered herself an artiste, so sharing her work, the garden, and receiving compliments for it, was the same as complimenting her. It was the one great work the Queen Dowager left behind.
It really was the jewel of the continent. Sera thought. It was her first time seeing it. Because all available resources and manpower were allocated to the war, no one bothered with the care of one rose garden. When the war ended, restoring the garden was a low priority, so during her stay, it stayed empty, dead plants wilted in dark earth and empty pots, dried out stone fountains cracked and grey with age.
It represented another broken promise with Lucien, where they would see it together, in all its former glory.
If she could see the garden from here, see the fountain bubbling clear water that would mean....finally turning to see what room she was in, the realization hit her.
This was her old room, the Queen's chambers, almost exactly the way she left it. There was the big canopied bed, the claw-footed bathtub, her desk, neatly stacked with scraps of paper, covered with little scribbles and doodles. The simple crib Lucien built for the baby. A soft wool blanket she'd knitted in the winter.
In one corner, boxes and boxes of all shapes and sizes, arranged in a haphazard pile. A stack of new books next to that pile. That was new.
Everything looked clean, like it was still yesterday, when she left.
Except for one grey rectangle on the wall. Faded wallpaper where her portrait used to hang.
That didn't matter. He probably burned it.
Strange. Lucien should have this room, adjacent to his, with a connecting door, prepared for his new bride. Maybe, they were preparing a different, better room for the bride. A room that his new bride would share with Lucien. Something they'd never done together. Sharing one bedroom, like commoner couples did here, what was normal in her home world. Since it "Wasn't proper".
It could even be, that a new palace was being built. That would explain all the new furniture that was being carried into the castle in the courtyard.
There was no use looking around at a room reminiscing what once was. Those days were over. Her leaving made sure of that. Lucien leaving, after seeing her for the first time in 5 years, confirmed it. He didn't love her anymore.
She knew he was angry at her too, as he had every right to be, from the way he punched the wall when he saw her.
Either way, she didn't know why Lucien brought her here, by herself. Since Lucien knew that she was back, but didn't seem to care, she would go look for Bea.
Striding to the door, she turned the knob. Or tried to. It wouldn't turn. Maybe the door was rusted. She jiggled it, hoping it would work. Another try, ending in failure. Sera was stuck in her old room.
Did Lucien want to kill her, by isolating her? Starve her to death as revenge for breaking his heart?
Nothing made sense. What was Lucien thinking?
Sera tried the other door that led to the terrace overlooking the garden. Locked.
All the windows. Locked
The garden seemed to mock her. There was no one outside that she could call out to.
Biting her lip, she tried the last door. The adjacent one that connected to his room.
She was well and truly trapped.
Taking her chair, she drags it to sit in front of the glass terrace door, gazing out at the garden.
Either way, she would wait.
She didn't know what magic suddenly brought her here, to her room, but it seemed that Lucien had some business to settle with her. In that situation where they stood, staring at each other, he could have left. Treated her like a stranger, and went on about his life.
Somehow, that ring contained a transportation magic that transported only her to her room. He didn't have that ring before. Magical items like those were extremely rare, requiring a high level magician to create and to imbue with power, and extremely fragile. Items were always either a one time use, or if created by a talented magician, 3 or 4 times. Sera didn't know the specifics of how the magic worked. All she knew was that magic always required a price of the user. The greater the magic, the greater the price.
To summon her to the world the first time, the old King gave up his vitality and lifespan.
What price did Lucien pay for that ring? she wondered.
The 2 suns were at the highest point in the sky.
Soon, he would come back.