Steel and Spell

By Celeste Lavin All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter 16

We started walking side by side to where we left our clothes, with me being careful to put some space between us. I was in deep thought about the almost kiss when I felt drops falling on my skin. I looked at the sky, and just in time, I saw lightning flashing through the sky and a few seconds later the thunder rumble through the woods. My skin was engulfed in goosebumps because of the cold and I tried to put some warmth on my arms by embracing myself.

I looked at Cassius, who was watching the floor with a frown, probably thinking the same thing as I. I looked at his neck, and I saw the silver chain I had seen a long time ago. And over his chest, a ring was hanging off the silver chain. How didn’t I see it before? I guess I was too caught up in the fun...

“Nice necklace.” I pointed out, startling him from his thoughts.

He looked at the necklace and just nodded.

“Can I see it?” I asked cautiously.

He looked at me for a while before nodding again. He took the chain off his neck and gave it to me.

The chain was so thin, that it was no wonder it took me that much time to realize he had it. I inspected the ring, and I was amazed by its beauty. It was a gold ring, and it looked like it had tiny vines encrusted around it. The vines looked like they were made of diamond, but it was so perfect, accurate and beautiful, it was hard to imagine it was done by someone.

“It’s gorgeous!” I exclaimed awestruck looking around the ring.

“My mother gave it to me a few days before I ran away. Is the only thing I have that reminds me of my old life, besides my sword.” He said looking at me while I examined it.

“How hasn’t the chain brake if it is so thin?” I wonder aloud.

“It is made of the strongest metal in existence, like my sword.” He said simply, not giving much for a conversation.

I ignored the uneasy feeling and the strange way he was behaving.

“That’s amazing...” I muttered giving the silver chain and the ring a last inspection before giving it back to Cassius.

By this time, I was shaking because of the cold, and the rain was starting to pour over us. I didn’t bother to dress if I was going to get wet anyway (and drench my clothes in the way), so I decided to pick up my clothes quickly and wrap them in a ball so they wouldn’t get too wet. Cassius decided to do the same thing as I, and we started walking fast back to the cabin.

Huge drops were falling over us and it was difficult not to slip off. Various times Cassius had to grab my arm to prevent that I fell. The rain was becoming heavier every passing minute, and when we got to the clearance, the cabin could be barely seen. It was like a bucket of water was being poured over us.

“This rain is really heavy!” I shouted over the noise of the water splashing the ground.

He didn’t say anything and just started walking towards the cabin. I stared at his moving figure and then trail behind him.

“What the hell was wrong with him now?”

When we enter, surprisingly it was warm inside and it relieved my trembling body a little. We left our clothes on the floor and said nothing for a while. I was trying to dry myself when he started talking

“It was a very bad idea to go swimming.” He said accusatorily.

“Well, then you should not have swum? You told me you wanted. Besides, it’s not like its the end of the world. We could just dry ourselves and problem solved.” I said simply, trying to avoid the unavoidable fight that was coming like a huge wave. A long time has passed since we had a fight, and I was trying to keep it that way.

“And leave you alone? Probably the current would have carried you away or something else would have happened. That’s the way it is with you always. And now you’re going to get a cold or something and guess who is going to have to take care of you.” He said in a mocking way.

I stared at him dead in the eye. “What are you trying to imply? That I’m weak? That I’m just a burden to you?” I said trying to hide the hurt.

A few moments of silence passed and I knew what was wrong. I knew this had to do with us almost kissing. What I didn’t know was that if he was angry because we didn’t kiss or because we almost did.

It took me some minutes after the situation in the river to realize I did like him, and I also wanted him to kiss me. It was difficult to realize it or accept it, and in that moment, I was still trying to process it.

He didn’t say anything and just stared at the window. His jaw was clenched and his hands were in fist; he was pissed. Anger started boiling inside me and I just started to blurt the first thing that came into my mind.

“You know what? Fuck you. I’m tired of you treating me like garbage, always yelling at me if you’re pissed. We were just fine fifteen minutes ago, and now you’re blaming me for something stupid? Go and find something else to release your frustration at, I’m leaving.”

He turned around surprised. “What?”

I was also surprised with my own words, but my body acted first.

I started to grab my things, which included my old clothes and my cell phone. I was still in my underwear, but I didn’t care. I was so angry, pissed, hurt, frustrated and sad, that I just wanted to get out of there. Even if it meant walking through the forest, in my underwear and with the rain pouring over me.

The only thing I could think about was that we couldn’t be together. No way we could be together. We were too different and alike at the same time, but we came from different worlds. And I knew there was a small chance I would return to my own world, and I would never see him again. If I let things out of hand and start to have deeper and more complicated feelings for him, it wasn’t going to end well. At least not for me. He was too indifferent and selfish, but he didn’t realize it. He always tried to help, but he acted thinking for himself, like in that moment.

I went to the door and his body blocked the way.

“Move.” I hissed, not looking at him.

He didn’t move, and I was still not thinking straight, so I did what I had been learning the past few weeks.

With a swift movement, I pushed him and put my legs in between his. It took him by surprise; he tumbled over and fell face to the floor.

“Fuck, Liberty.” He groaned, but I ignored him.

I passed over him, opened that door, and left.

The rain was pouring over me and I walked in the direction of Lucy. I wanted to say goodbye to her. I knew she was better and was more capable of taking care of herself.

When I turned the corner, I was surprised to see Lucy standing on her own flapping her wings.

“Oh my god Lucy... you can walk!” I exclaimed. I went to her and standing she looked even bigger. I had to be on my tip toes to reach her nose to caress her.

“Well, I guess this is a goodbye...” I swallowed. All the memories of taking care of her, the first nights, it brought a sense of nostalgia that was destroying my heart.

I stepped away from her and started walking in the direction of the woods, trying to contain the tears of sadness. Not just because I was leaving Lucy I was crying, leaving Cassius was the most difficult part.

I felt heavy steps behind me, and I turned around to see Lucy following me. She poked me with her head and I gave her a sad smile. Suddenly she kneeled her four legs in front of me and I looked in confusion at her.

“Liberty!”

I look up to see Cassius a few feets away. He was drenched, and his face was with rage.

“Come back now!” he barked walking towards me.

Why did he always want to control me? I wanted to get away, from everything, from him. My heart clenched at the thought of being away from him, but I needed it. Although it sounds very cliché, I needed to find myself.

I looked down at Lucy, and the craziest idea crossed my mind.

“Well, I have nothing to lose.”

I sat on top of Lucy and straddled her. She stood up fast and started to flap her wings.

I grabbed her neck for dear life and look at Cassius. He was running at full speed towards where Lucy and I were, trying somehow stop the craziness unfolding right in front of our eyes.

“Liberty Stop!” He screamed.

It was too late to stop. I didn’t even know how to stop Lucy. In that moment I was just trying to think straight. “Oh, crap.”

“Liberty, please! Don’t leave!” His voice was filled with desperation and anguish.

We started going higher and higher and I held tighter into Lucy.

I closed my eyes and tried to ignore his pleading screams, and in some moment, I couldn’t hear him anymore. I opened my eyes, and I realize we were in the middle of a cloud. The rain wasn’t so heavy, and I couldn’t see past Lucy’s head.

I release a breath, trying to calm myself and take control of the situation

Suddenly, everything cleared up and my eyes couldn’t believe the sight. The grey clouds were beneath us and a beautiful sun shone over us. The sky was a bright light blue, and you could see everything for miles. The heavy storm was beneath us, and it extended up for miles.

Somehow, I was starting to calm down, even though we were a lot of feet up the ground. I breathed deeply in and out, trying to put in order my thoughts and feelings. Without warning, I was crying and sobbing. I exploded in a mix of emotions that I couldn’t hold back anymore.

And I realized how much I had kept inside me these months. How much I needed to cry for the loss of my family and friends. How I never got to say goodbye to my father. I hated him because of his betrayal, but I loved him for the woman I had become thanks to him. He taught me almost everything I knew about life, and well, all those geeky conversations about the universe and it’s creation always made me want to think outside the box, to look for more, and to search where it seemed there was nothing. When he left my mother, he left a deep wound in my heart, and it’s still bleeding and hurting.

A few more tears rolled down my cheeks, but I wiped them away quickly. I took a deep breath and calmed down my erratic breathing and my hiccups. I needed to get my shit together

Lucy’s fly was smooth. She was probably an expert in it. Although she hadn’t flown in at least two months, it didn’t show.

I looked at my surroundings, and it was still difficult to grasp the fact that I was flying in a pegasus over a storm. The worries started to appear and started to panic slightly.

“How are we going to land?”

“Where are we going to land?”

“Once we land, what am I going to do?”

Lucy kept flying, and I kept my mouth shut so I didn’t distract her o upset her. I hugged her neck tighter and pet her lightly.

Minutes seemed to be hours up there, and the slumber started to win over me. My eyes started to close and my last thought before falling into the arms of Morpheus was hoping that I didn’t fall. I would have been a pretty nasty death.

I woke up slowly, thank god, and I look my surroundings to see Lucy still flying, but we were descending. The sun was setting, and I looked at the beautiful orange and pink sky, still sleepy trying to think where were we.

Lucy started to descend more, and I realized the storm had disappeared. I closed my eyes, preparing myself for what was coming afterward. I cursed myself internally because of the rash decision I took to leave. I wasn’t prepared for what was out there, and I needed Cassius more than I could admit. I should have ignored the fight, or better, just ignored Cassius until he was...not angry.

I opened them and we were almost on the ground. I grabbed her tightly in case something went wrong, and kept my gaze on the floor. She gracefully landed and kneeled so I could go down. I get off her and look up. My eyes couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

We were back at the clearance, where the cabin was.

“What...” I said aloud. I looked back at Lucy, and her innocent eyes looked back at me. I hugged her neck and caressed her.

“You know what is better for me better than I do. Thank you, Lucy. I don’t know how could I repay you. You are one of the best things that have happened to me.” I said with emotion in my voice.

She sensed my fear, and she knew coming back home was the best.

Home, that’s what it was, even if I liked it or not.

I heard the slam of a door and I turn around to see Cassius leaving the cabin. He had his sword and his cloak on.

“Cassius!” I shouted after him before he could enter the forest.

He stopped in his tracks and turned around slowly. He took his hood like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. I started to walk slowly towards him, with my head down. Halfway towards him, I heard fast footsteps, and I lifted my head up in time to see him running towards me.

He hugged my waist and lifted me off the ground, hugging me with firmness and delicacy at the same time. I gave a yelp at the unexpected act but didn’t complain either. He rested his head on my shoulder and said nothing. I hugged him back and inhaled his scent. It definitely reminded me of home, that home.

I did miss him, even though it was a few hours, I didn’t have in mind I was coming back, and that just made me miss him even more. I couldn’t be more grateful towards Lucy. She was even more intelligent than I expected. More intelligent than me at least.

He took his head from my shoulder and put me down, without taking his arms off my waist. His eyes were glistening with unshed tears, taking me off my guard. His finger started strocking my cheek while looking deeply into my eyes.

Where was the yelling? When was he going to shout that I did something stupid and reckless, that I could have killed myself? The scold?

“You do not know how worried I was...” he muttered in such a low voice as if he didn’t want to be heard by someone else than me.

“I-I lost my mind Lib. I really thought I had lost you. I couldn’t stand it.” He was looking deeply into my eyes, and I couldn’t tear my gaze from his eyes. His hypnotic eyes were impossible not to look at.

“Please don’t do it again. Don’t leave me.” He said in a whisper with such anguish that my heart broke for him.

I wasn’t standing in front of an all mighty man, a warrior without emotions or the man who had been training me harshly. I was standing in front of a simple, and at the same time, an extraordinary man, who had feelings and was vulnerable like any other human. A man that is afraid of loss and being alone, because he had suffered already through too much.

I gulped and stared into his hazel eyes. “I promise I won’t do it again.” I said in a whisper that matched his level of voice. “I’m so sorry...”

He sighed in relief as if the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders.

We stood there, staring into each other’s eyes and hugging for a while before I spoke.

“We need to talk. I...I need to get somethings straight.”

He nodded and took my hand, but I stopped him.

“Wait...I think I should dress properly first.” My cheeks blushed slightly. I had forgotten completely that I was still in my underwear.

“Uhm, sure. I’ll wait here.” He said unsure.

I gave him a small smile before going to look my clothes. I had left them in the same spot where I flew away with Lucy. Luckily, they were still there. I put them on, even though they were drenched and smelled of wet dirt.

I went back to Cassius, and surprisingly I saw Lucy laying down near him while he was lighting up the bonfire. I sat in the same spot as always and waited for him to sat down as well. As soon as he sat down I started talking.

“I had been thinking of the chances we have to be together.” I said without hesitation. I felt his body tensing beside me, but before he could say something, I kept talking.

“Maybe you don’t like me, and I’m just a friend. Maybe what I’m about to say will just complicate things between us and... well, you can imagine what could happen.” I took a deep breath before talking.

“I like you, and not just as a friend. I have feelings for you. But I don’t think we should do something about it. Things should stay the way they are and...”

“What? Are you kidding me?” He said making me look at him with surprise.

“Liberty, do you know how long I have waited for those words come out of your mouth?” He said with a smile on his face and I couldn’t quite understand.

“But...”

“If I have to go to the end of the world to be with you, then I would do it.” He took my hand and put it over his chest.

“Do you feel how my heart is racing for you? When you left, it killed me that you never got to know how I felt about you.”

He got closer to me and took my chin in his hand.

“I have feelings for you, and I’m not willing to stop them. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

I was speechless. I was literally just staring at him like he was a pink elephant with wings.

“He liked me?”

“He wanted to be with me?”

“I know there are things I need to change about me, and I’m willing to do it if you accompany me along the way. We both can learn to tolerate the differences of the other one and maybe, someday, this will transform into something else.”

A moment of silence passed between us. We were so close I could feel his breath fanning over my lips. His eyes had this look I couldn’t quite decipher and I just stare as if looking to those hazel eyes would bring me the answers I need.

“Please take this step with me. No more fights. No more yelling. It’s just going to be us against the world.” His hand moved from my chin to my cheek and I rested my head on his hand.

“You know I don’t belong here. I’ll have to go back to my own world, and when that moment comes...” I didn’t want to end the sentence because the both of us knew what would happen.

“Do you want to go back?” He asked me suddenly.

“I...”

And it hit me like a brick.

I didn’t know if I wanted to go back.

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