There was an awkward silence between the two as Lucius and Aurora walked around the festival.
With how they parted with tension still left between them, neither knew what to say to the other. The words from that night were not something they could easily confront due to how they both were very clumsy when it came to taking their relationship to the next step.
One cruelly lost his first love, while the other was forced to kill their first love to survive.
Knights Cassis and Geeve glanced at each other and grinned.
The four Knights Lucius ordered to stay close to the academy to guard Aurora were the ones who closely followed him on all battlefields in the past, along with the Captain and Vice-Captain of the Black Gold Rizar Knights.
While they understood it might take some time for this awkward couple to open to each other, it was still their first time seeing the Commander at a loss for words.
Many noticed the crest on the Knight’s uniform and didn’t dare approach.
One was Yulia and her group, who stared with envy. Lady Yulia wanted to interrupt the two but feared the repercussions when she remembered what happened at the banquet. She turned away and stormed off to who knows where, with her friends following behind.
The reactions of the citizens were different. The Nobles gathered as they whispered to each other while the commoners cheered and whistled for the Duke. As both groups stood on opposite sides, you could tell that a line between the two existed.
Seeing this divide in the citizens, Aurora glanced at Lucius.
“What do you plan on doing?”
Lucius continued walking as he contemplated how to answer her.
From what Aurora read in a book, the Rizar Dukedom treated nobles and commoners as equally as possible. Due to living in a cold environment where monsters roamed just beyond the forest, becoming stronger and surviving is all that matters.
And then there was the matter of the border separating the Tamriel and Epheria Empire. That border lied just beyond the snowy Mount Etern.
When war breaks out between the two Empires once again, it was the Rizar Dukedom that would bear the brunt of it. With this in thought, the Rizar family only cared about who contributed the most to the Dukedom’s safety rather than their family status. In such a situation, if there was animosity between nobles and commoners, it could hinder the Dukedom’s reaction to disasters.
That's why to appease those who lost their loved one in this case, the only choice Lucius Rizar, the Duke of the Rizar Dukedom, is...
Aurora narrowed her eyes at this, but she didn’t say anything and let him continue.
"There is enough evidence of her crimes to call for her death. For the innocent lives she has taken, she must give her life in exchange. That is why, to quell the people’s anger, she will be sentenced to death.”
“….” Even though he calmly said this without any change to his expression, the flicker in his eyes and the sadness and guilt he felt towards Lillian washed over Aurora, betraying him.
But Aurora did not call him out on it. She felt that by doing so, it would make small of the decision he steeled himself to.
‘Their eyes…it’s the same.’
It reminded her of when her eyes met her father’s as he decided to have the Witches hunted and her killed. She thought it was a chilling coldness that didn’t feel an ounce of emotion.
At that time, Aurora didn’t think much of it. But after meeting Lucius, she realized what that look meant. If only she knew back then what she knew now…if only she doubted and asked him why maybe he would have told her. Maybe things would have ended differently.
“You are really similar to him,” Aurora whispered.
“???” Lucius wanted to ask her who she was talking about but found himself holding back when he saw her smile held a small regret.