Sera could never get tired of watching the flowers in the garden. Seeing the movement of the butterflies fluttering from one flower to another. Birds that seemed to shimmer in excited movements, landing and flying, in quick agitated movements. Life back home was too busy to appreciate simple pleasures like this. She'd been too busy trying to survive.
It was better to stare out at the garden than think about what would happen once Lucien came back. If she started thinking about all the possible ifs, she would lose herself.
Rather, it was better to sit and wait, not smell but at least, look at the flowers.
Shaking her head, she caught herself. Sera still needed to think of a plan. Her trip back here was final. Permanent.
Her baby was still out there somewhere. He was a prince. Even though no one knew how he was doing, a prince was a prince. As the only heir of the kingdom, someone would be taking care of him. The Lucien that Sera knew would never abandon a child. She would look for her son.
Lucien looked so different now. His eyes so emotionless and cold, the deep blue color like the depths of the ocean where only dead and somber things resided. He didn't seem human. In the past, every time Lucien came back from battle, there'd been a similar look of despair. He hated all the killing, saying it took bits of his humanity away each time a body fell under his sword.
On the cart ride to the capital, posters hung like talismans, here and there of a red silhouette holding a sword. The Red King, Lois said it was. With those beast-like eyes and burning aura, it made him into a god of war. Sera understood now, those paintings were probably Lucien. Lois told her how people put it on the door of their homes as a safety measure. The posters reminded criminals, if you weren't prepared to have the Red King come after you, stay away.
Parents told little children to be good, or the Red King would come. He'd become a nightmare creature, no longer human, that relished in the bloodbath. Red hair the same crimson color that splashed around him as he went berserk.
Sera shivered. If Lucien wanted his revenge on her, she would take it. Beg for his forgiveness for hurting him.
The Azarks were a fierce people. Strong enough to pose a huge threat against Thornmere. The rumored fiancee, their princess was probably a warrior too. A perfect fit for Lucien.
With a new queen on the way, it probably didn't matter anymore She probably didn't matter anymore.
Time passed as she repeated those words to herself.
The two suns began to set, circling around each other.
Her room was growing dark, and the gardens could no longer be seen from the windows.
The nights were still chilly in the spring. Sera decided to "borrow" the wool blanket that she'd knit to wrap around herself for warmth. What would Lois think when she never showed up at suppertime? She hoped Lois didn't worry too much about her and went home.
When the entire room was cast into darkness, the adjacent door finally clicked open. A large figure filled up the door, the flickering torches on the wall behind him making the shadow behind him dance.
Sera sits up, back straight, gazing at him.
Wordlessly, he enters the room, closing the door behind him and locking it with an audible click.
Placing a hand on a small jewel embedded in the wall, he whispers some words to it, and it starts to glow, other jewels placed around the room lighting up in sync.
Sera marvels at the sight. To use such precious magic to light up a room. It made sense as to why the lamp-holders seemed so unused. She couldn't light them when she was alone in the room by herself. There was no lamp fluid in it to keep the fire going. Though that wasn't important. She didn't have anything to light it with. Her trusty knapsack, which had a box of matches in it, was still in Lois' cart in the courtyard.
He moves silently, muscles flexing like a big forest cat's, and stands before her. Hands behind his back. That harsh blue gaze bores into her.
The silence is too much.
"L-Lucien... it's.....it's nice to see you again! 5 years was it....You've really become a great King. You used to hate it so much...The country is so prosperous now.....I hope you've been doing well, that you've moved on...You look healthy...I heard you're getting married...."
Feeling like an idiot, Sera wished she could slap herself in the mouth. Bringing up his marriage already?! Not smooth at all.
She could only blather on, cursing at herself for her poor communication skills-
"Not like you getting married is a problem! I'm totally okay with it! Any girl is lucky to have you for her husband! I'll make sure I don't get in the way of your new bride, I only came back to see how you were doing, how the baby was doing....If-if you're both doing well, I won't bother you!"
A burgeoning silence stretches out, cord taut, ready to snap at any moment.
Quietly, Lucien finally responds.
"5 years since you left. 5 years since you tore out my heart and stomped on it, ground it to pieces. Now you're back, congratulating me on my marriage to another woman?" Sera doubts herself, hearing the slight tremble in his iron-hard tone.
"Why did you come back" Lucien presses his mouth into a firm line, strong jaw ticking in anger.
"What I did was wrong to you...I wanted to apologize.."
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry about everything! There was only one chance to go home, and I took it! It was only supposed to be a simple contract!" Sera tries to hold in the tears that brim on her eyelashes. She can't cry here. Can't get emotional. She wasn't the victim. Lucien was.
Swallowing the lump in her throat, she whispers.
"I just wanted to tell you.......I'm so sorry...."
Maybe she shouldn't have come back. If she stayed in her home world. Became a distant memory in Lucien's mind. Now, the only thing she could do, was give him closure. Lucien and Sera were no more. He could start a new family with his new queen.
"You're telling me sorry....After throwing me away....."
Lucien turns away from her. His back seems so much bigger now, but looks so alone.
"You owe me." His deep voice resonates in the room.
Lucien was different now. He didn't lean towards her as he spoke. The way he stood, the way he spoke, was that of an experienced king. He was a stranger. Time had changed them both.
"I have nothing to pay you back with."
"I have nothing worth value that I can give you."
Lucien moves to another corner of the room, and beckons her to come.
"You have one thing"
He points into the dark corner, where the light doesn't completely reach---
there in the giant full-length mirror, Sera sees herself.