Chapter 51: Putting An End To A War
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For a brief moment, an eerie silence was reigning in the room. But before Maren could even register how Amaragi was looking at him after he finished his tale, he already found himself on his back upon her bed. Hands mercilessly pinned to the side while her warm breath sent shivers down his spine. 

 

And he could have sworn that her eyes were looking straight into him as they comically narrowed with a frown. 

 

"... another stuck up noble…"

 

Each word left a cold chill in Maren's body, especially while her crimson eyes seemed to search through his own ever so slowly. 

 

"... who thinks she's a goddess on earth… yes?" 

 

Her tone was calm and collected… but if Maren were to describe it, it was the true definition of a calm before the storm scenario. And as such, he gave in to his fate as he ceased any and all resistance, simply opting to keep limb and still beneath the very crown princess who he had so hopelessly fallen in love with. 

 

If only his past self found out about this… he would have probably buried himself alive in that desert in sheer disbelief and defiance. 

 

"... funny… I never heard you call me like this before…"

 

Her hand released its grip upon one of his wrists, instead beginning to trail down his jaw, leaving Maren with a quickened heart rate upon looking back into her eyes. Her playfulness was evident despite all her ministrations, but still… 

 

… all of a sudden, she ceased her actions, and her gaze changed into an almost blank and solemn look. As if she were deep in thought, seeing things that none but her could witness in front of her mental eye. 

 

"Isn't it ironic? How life works?" 

 

Her sudden change in demeanor and tone caused Maren to pause as well, looking at her with concern. 

 

"You used to hate me, believing me to be an arrogant, selfish part of nobility… how could I blame you? And yet, meanwhile, I suffered in this very palace, believing that no one was like me, having only my siblings, without ever wanting to get to know anyone else… without even being aware of your existence."

 

Almost on instinct, Maren used his now free hand to gently place it against her cheek. And just after a moment of silence, she slowly leaned into it. 

 

"Now when I met you, you changed my world so quickly without me even realizing at first. And looking back upon the time since I did meet you, I developed feelings for you so quickly in such a short time… normally, one would say that it was irrational and foolish to give in to these feelings so quickly… but this is not how I work."

 

She gently rubbed her cheek against the warmth of his hand, looking back at him. 

 

"I wanted you. It was the first time I felt like this, and I didn't want to let go. I chose to do everything I could, to sacrifice everything I could, and in the end… look at us now. I could not be any happier… and through everything I did, I hope I changed your view too…"

 

Yet, there was still no smile upon her lips as she continued. 

 

"... but I am not stupid. I was merely lucky. You could have chosen to end my life when the opportunity was presented to you, after all the borders I have recklessly crossed in my hopes of being with you… all of these countless possibilities, of how it could have ended differently, with merely a small thing taking another turn… crushing my life into pieces, or yours, or us both…"

 

Instead, Maren witnessed how her eyes narrowed ever so slightly. 

 

"Life truly makes no sense, following rules that we can never understand. Presenting you with choices and unforeseen happenstances that you could never predict, and yet, defying you if you have set a plan in your mind, if you are trying to force something to go as you want it to. In that regard, I truly was… lucky. Sometimes I question if this is really reality, or if this is just a story, or a dream…"

 

For a long while, Amaragi seemed to be in a trance, at least, until she snapped out of it the moment Maren actually lifted himself slightly from the bed. And he wordlessly chose to cuddle close against her, finally causing a smile to spread upon her lips. 

 

"... I don't know what will happen in the future, but let me say this…"

 

Returning his act, Amaragi slowly embraced him against herself, letting her lips linger against his ear before she whispered a silent promise. 

 

"No matter what happens, I will never give up on you. No matter if something tries to tear us apart, no matter if we should get into a fight ourselves… I will always love you. And I will fight for it, always, against whatever it has to be, for it is far too precious to me. You are stuck with me now, and I hope you are prepared for it…"

 

Uttered both with playfulness and honesty, Maren simply held her a little closer, giving her just the answer that she needed. 

 

"And I thank you for openly sharing your previous life with me, and what you once thought about me. Thanks to you, I know now how we can proceed, and hopefully make an end to this war. I will give out the order today, for all of our troops stationed in Norin to gather and march to Glenrock's borders. Our time of planning and preparation is over, Kazen had his time to have fun and play with his puny agents, but now… he will come to know what it means to have the Empire as his enemy."

 

True enough, what Maren had told her about the internal power struggles between Glenrock's noble houses had not been anything new. However, that tiny, last information he had given her was just the weapon she had needed. 

 

And most of all, even unbeknownst to Maren himself as she, for once, chose to keep this thought to herself… she had a second goal now. 

 

To eradicate that Norian ambassador wherever she was hiding in that desert town… for having traveled with him. 

 


 

AN:

 

You can now play the demo of #Red Princess since I have published it on itch.io. 

https://locolo.itch.io/red-princess

Hence why, if you decide to take the time and play, I hope you enjoy! 

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