Chapter 43: Slamming the Curtains.
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Kein's POV

Natasha was still holding onto my hand leaving me with her while Rose walked away from our spot. S-She's gone. She disappeared into the crowd with many knights accompanying her side. 

My other hand rubbed the side of my temples. 

This is... the second time. "I swear I have some big bad luck to cause misunderstandings." I muttered to myself looking at Natasha.

She looked so red, expecting something but I'm sorry to inform her I have no intention of doing any of that to her. I sighed gently slipping off her hand from mine, "Natasha no- um- we- are not... doing that."

Natasha looks at her hand before looking at mine. Frowning, as if expected she frowns but she tries not to show it. "I see. Did Natasha misunderstand the moment?" (Natasha) tells me her voice in a worry, her figure shrinks in panic. Her eyes stares at mine, "Did Natasha mess up?"

I swallowed the lump on my throat after she told me that. I feel guilty. 

K-Kinda yeah you did but Natasha looks so fragile right now I didn't have the heart to say that to her but if I keep sugarcoating what this is she'll never move on. "I-It's just I'm on duty. There's no room for such things while you're on the job you know?"

I explained trying to coax her into forgetting about it. Honestly, I just wanna find Rose at the same time I know in my heart I can't also leave Natasha all alone here. 

Natasha nods in understanding but her expression was still unsatisfied. "Natasha... let's continue when... we're not on duty." 


"E-Even when I'm not on duty I don't think I'm ready for that-"
 I told her and she smiles looking at her hand. She raises it a little bit the expression on her face rather happy.  


"Natasha has said before she will wait for Kein to move on then Natasha will ask the question again."
 (Natasha) tells me her Jade eyes shining while she hid her hands behind her back.

This felt like one of those... romantic anime scenes but my heart... is still the same. 

I don't feel anything.


"No promises, I'm telling you now. I am allowing you to continue having feelings for me but I fear... I'll hurt Natasha in the end and our friendship will be-"
 I couldn't continue after that. I pursed my lips looking at the ground. It 

Natasha didn't say anything after hearing my response and started to walk to my tent trying to straighten the fabric. "Natasha is disappointed with how Puronians set up their tent. Come I'll teach you a better way to set up a tent."

Ah. "O-Okay." I follow her to my tent setting it up with her directions. This was really awkward, not knowing what to do I followed her every direction, I analyzed her facial expression. She was wearing her serious one when we were usually working.

She gives me the end of a rope and told me to hold it while she does some complicated knots. "Kein, Natasha knows the consequences of doing courtship on you. Natasha will not hope for you to reciprocate her feelings but instead Natasha wants to spend time with you. It just so happened there were feelings growing, but our friendship will still stay." (Natasha) says to me with reassuring eyes.

I held my neck for comfort feeling horrible. I'm really horrible. "I apologize. I really had a bad experience with a friend who liked me and just... avoided me after I rejected her. She stopped writing me letters, stopped asking me to visit her for tea, and... basically told me to never talk to her again."

I smile sadly at the times, remembering my memory with the first princess. 

That day I rejected her. I felt... so... guilty. 

Princess Cecilia was definitely a beautiful, graceful, elegant, and basically she looked like the most perfect princess you could ever lay your eyes upon but underneath on that she was also flawed. "I'm afraid again. The fear of losing a friend. The one time I pursued someone, I got rejected so I lost two friends in two weeks." I held the rope my energy somehow depleting.

Natasha listens intently nodding while working on the knot of the rope. "Natasha understands. The first girl is really immature, while it is understandable to ask for space but to end your friendship just like that? Natasha is disappointed." (Natasha)

She gives me a sour look and I can't help but laugh a little. "If you knew who the first girl was I think you'll faint." I told her giving her the rope, finally doing the final touches of my tent.

"Natasha at this point questions your dating history. It seems you have many women of diversity." (Natasha) 

"Um... not really-" 

Natasha gives me a long death stare. I looked away hiding my deep shame. Okay so I played a little bit with like about ten girl's feelings but that's not that bad of a number! "If you do not tell truth, Natasha will actually break our friendship. Natasha does not like dishonest people, Kein."

"Alright fine. I had like... ten girls pinning for me before on the knight academy after hearing a rumor I liked girls. I dated them but all of my relationship with them never lasted any longer than a week." 

I know I haven't moved on from Rose and yes I did try dating to move on from her. Well shit after ten tries nothing worked. "Kein is really a player before I met her huh." (Natasha) pulls the fabric of the tent.

"It is done." 

The tent seemed to have gained more support, and space after what Natasha did. I admired her work looking at her with stars in my eyes. "This looks... way better than my tent from before. Thank you, Natasha."

"Natasha don't want to hear you comparing yourself to a tent again you hear?" (Natasha) scolds me and I nod. 

"Yes ma'am I won't." I told her she gives me a faint smile. I looked through the sky and realized it's already night time. "Isn't it getting late? Won't your adventurer friends worry about you if you're gone for this long?"

Natasha hides her hand behind her back again. "If they know that I'm with you... they'll understand." (Natasha)

I smile knowing that her friends are really supportive of her. I'm pretty sure some other adventurers are not really open to this kind of courting but hey. "You have really great friends. Treasure them. I'm glad that they trust me with you as well."

I scratch my cheek. "This feels really awkward actually." 

I'm glad nothing will change between us. 

I thought to myself that, Natasha looked left and right on her surroundings she places her hands in front of her looking at the ground with a shade of pink on her face.

Natasha purses her lips holding her hand tight. "This is goodbye. Natasha will see you tomorrow. Y-You have a good night sleep, Kein."


"Mn. Goodnight, Natasha. I'll be seeing you tomorrow."
 I replied waiting for her to walk away.

I decided to move first and left hoping to take off my armor and rest in my tent. I turned my back behind her but I felt an odd soft sensation on my waist. 


"N-Natasha just wants to hug as friends. D-Do not take it to mind."
 (Natasha) 

"U-Um." Okay I was not expecting that. I should stay calm this is nothing, don't overreact it's just a hug. "Yeah friends hug. You can hug me all you want then."

"N-Natasha would like that." (Natasha) whispers in her soft voice. I could feel her head shuffle a little before running away completely. Natasha has completely left me after that hug. I felt my knees about to give out from this day's events. 

I walked through my tent and saw Vanilla was already comfortable with herself inside. Well at least my Pegasus is alright and drama-free. My body slumped into the soft blanket that was laid onto the grass.

Fanning myself I complained, "I need a drink."

I was incredibly dehydrated from today's events. How much more can I take? My gaze lands onto Vanilla sleeping soundly, I felt envious. "I wish I could just be a frog instead and just hop all over my problems." I imagined myself living as a frog and how great that must've been. 

I have already started on a fire, picking up my flint and steel clashing them together to create a spark. It worked after a few tries burning the wood and paper that I placed beforehand. 

I sat on a dry log that I carried and watched the fire flicker. My hands feeling a little sore. It sucks that I have to do this the traditional and natural way.

If this was magic-made fire, I would've absorbed it in a matter of seconds. 

The other reason why I was required to be isolated into my own tent, not because of my rankings or standings. It was because I might absorb the other's knight's fire on accident. 

My magic is so unstable at times I absorb magic on impulse. 

I take a few clean sticks skinning it with my blade, opening my storage ring grabbing some few strips of meat and then wrapping it all around. 

I look through Vanilla who was laying down the blanket with me enjoying the nice fire. "I guess I only have you to accompany me, huh." 

Vanilla snorts placing her head closer to my thighs. She feels like a cat at times it's adorable. My mood got a lot instantly better... "Vanilla I packed some apples and special feeds for you. Which one would you want for dinner?" I ask her holding out my storage ring to take her food out.

Vanilla stares at my hand then pulling my sleeve. I laugh in understanding. "Apples it is then but you have to remember our supply is limited when it comes to fruits and vegetables." 

She neighs sadly licking my face. "No amount of licking would they make the shelf life longer you know." This Pegasus is really affectionate when it comes to food huh. I push her face away gently giving her the apples that she wanted. 

I waited for my meat to cook to medium rare. I ate alone peacefully away from others. It was a little lonely than expected. 

Surely Natasha would be eating as well. Rose... I wonder if she's eating well too. I can't help but worry about her even this time. 

I spent the night under the stars, putting the fire out before sleeping but keeping alert to keep watch of any danger.

.-.-.-.-.-.

I yawned, feeling rather light despite yesterday's events. Vanilla snores behind me, the scene was rather cute. I forgot that I used her as my own personal pillow. I shake Vanilla trying to wake her up, "Come on girl it's already morning. Stretch your wings before we leave again."

She quickly raises her heads up to look at me. "Let's go girl come on."

Vanilla snorts before going back to sleep. I shook her body again trying to gently wake her up. "Vanilla come on I still have to pack up the tent. If you keep this up I wont give you apples."

With the mention of apples she lazily stands up and proceeds to place her head closer to lick my face. My body stiffens, "This... is really ew but since you're so cute I'll let this slide again." I point to my face and I feel like she just laughed at my soft spots for cute things. 

I see the other knights already packed and ready to go. I took out the stakes from the ground, the fabric, metal rod, and the rope. Once that was done Vincent ordered for all Knights to get in the center before we leave. 

Vanilla walked alongside me after I packed out our tent. Natasha really did some complicated work on it and that took me a while to disassemble it.

When almost everyone was there, Vincent stood tall carrying out orders. He had horrible bags under his eyes looking a lot paler than last night. "Beyond this road is [Shiksal Forest]. The entryway to the cold kingdom of [Winshern]. The moment we pass by snow everyone will wear the coats they have brought or have been provided by the military." (Vincent)

He yells over a few more orders such as, "All loot will be shared amongst each other. If we encounter any bandits we'll detain them and bring them to the the authorities to handle over at the [Winshern Kingdom]."

I listened to all of them carefully while sneaking a glance at the royal carriage. 

To my surprise I could see that Rose's window didn't have any curtains left and I caught her looking at her direction onto me. "Ah-"

I was about to walk forward but she suddenly slams the curtain back on before I could even do anything. Is she still mad?

There wasn't any more time before Vincent ordered for us to disperse. "Move out."

I gave up feeling defeated and hurt, slamming those curtains on me definitely was the last straw. I guess the world doesn't want me to be with her in any kind of way huh.

Author here, 

Dear readers I am well aware that the chapter looks so bleak! But finally we'll be getting a Rose's POV soon and a side chapter to what happened to the other side characters while they were away!

Thank you to the people who voted and may I remind you to send us some love.

Cuz the book gonna be ending by the end of December and I'm going to cry. It's close ya'll better buckle up cause here we go.

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