AOH – Chapter 75

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CHAPTER 75: KISSES OF LOVE

He opens his eyes. He tried to sleep but his heart is beating furiously. He is worrying about a lot of thing, and sleep doesn’t come easy for him.

He noticed that his sleep come harder each year that passed. He couldn’t sleep.

He could not sleep, not tonight. He tried to. He struggle on his bed trying to find that sweet spot but he can’t.

He looks at the ceiling.  He looked at his surroundings. His bedroom is furnished and clean.

On the walls were painting, valuable paintings by many artist that came under the patronage of his family, some tapestry by her mother showing him in battle.

There is also some tapestry by Lisa, a talented girl that is not only talented in battle but also in other womanly aspect.

He is rarely in the castle. The beginning of his life has been fill with training in the Knight Academy.

Then the war. And the battles. And the intrigue and plot directed at his family.

His mind somehow flashback to certain moments in his life. The Henry plot against his family, the Bloody Feast, the war, the day he was speared by Alderam, the day he won.

A lot has happened. A lot has change.

And now it seems another war looms ahead. He looks again at the tapestry that his mother made or him, the care she must have exercised in making it.

He had become unaccustomed to these little touches. Personal touches of love and care. He used to hugged her mother and kiss her cheeks.

But rarely now he had the opportunity to do that.

With his mother is sometimes busy than him, attending to the other nobles and her correspondence with the King and not to mention raising Arianna, she is busy.

He smiles a little.

He sighed. He is conflicted. All these emotion welled up in him and he doesn’t know what to do. He has long…..forgotten how to live.

He did not live before. He survived. But he did not live.

There is a difference between living and surviving and he knows that better than anyone. Arial is plagued with worries and unease.

What should he do now? Is this his mistake? Is this his fault? He seems to be thinking. He could not be sure that this isn’t his fault.

If it is, doesn’t this mean that he has doomed everyone? No, he shakes his head defiantly. This time it’s different.

The human continent has him now. Something HAS changed he said to himself, willing himself to believe it. Yes, the continent has him now.

And he has turned the region now a state by its own right powerful. The first great city in the continent, unmatched by any other city.

Common Tongue with slight variation is spoken here. Arial have a thought to create the state own language, but he had to delay that for now.

Knowledge from all over the world is here. Silas, his vassal is a great thinker and Arial daresay one of the greatest of this time, a polymath, interested in many fields.

Even Arial himself has delved himself in his spare times to gain better understanding in this area called science, a forgotten art by the First Generation and has found itself in revival under the Vermont’s.

The school established all around the region, is encouraged by the policy of his family towards better understanding the world.

It started with the Disc. Arial have corresponded letters with the man called Michael under her mother employs and he has suggested many good things in which Arial quickly employed.

Lisa also hearing Arial is very enthusiastic about the matter of reviving the art, began learning to wrote music and studying geography.

Arial on the other hand started learning astronomy, and he also began creating many inventions, many of it is a failure but he is satisfied.

He also because of his own illness started learning medicine from a famed scholar from Asteros, Dioscorides.

Arial greatly admired the Asterosi skills in medicine. He also taught Arial of the dangers of mosquitoes in an urban life and Arial has done preventative measure to avoid plague to ever enter his city.

The guard at the walls are also loyal to the state and his family. Then the cold wind breezes by. And his limbs feels like a thousand needles is stick onto him.

He tries to walk it off. He stands up and each step is a perilous task. Night wind burns him.

‘Everything hurt now’ he said gritting his teeth.

‘Every damn thing’

He winces to exit his room wearing a clothes made by a Bear fur. A fur clothes that he has bought to shelter himself from the coldness.

He put it around his body, shivering and he regulates his breathing and the cold recedes for a while.

‘I need to walk this off’ he said to himself as his steps become more resolute. He begins exploring the castle.

He took a lantern with him. He could use internal energy to see in the dark but better not aggravate his condition he mused.

He then hear some singing

 ‘And the Princess,

Cried,

And cried,

Until finally her Knight in the shining armour came’ the song can be heard by Arial. He then approached the balcony because he recognized that voice anywhere.

‘Helia?’ he asked.

The girl turns her face to him and smile at him.

She was wearing a long white trailing gown and she looked like a goddess Arial thought. Her face and her hazel eyes are beautiful like always.

‘What are you doing here?’ He asked.

‘Enjoying the night stars’ she said wistfully. She looks at the night sky, and she looked peaceful and beautiful all at the same time.

‘May I join you?’ he said. She just nodded. Arial looked at her and he could not help but have his worry disappear for a while.

He is now a Prince and many of his advisors have advised him to marry fast. It is not because they fear that he would be alone, for everyone knows he is betrothed to Helia, but mostly because it is political.

Althea family guarded the most area in the south, and also occupied many land there.

Thanks to their assistance to Vermont family during the trial and their help during the War of Succession, they were given an influential position in the new Kingdom

This I know. Their ancestral home is there and Helve is a compassionate ruler there which is why I took Helia hand gladly. It is fortunate that I also love her.

But his advisor worries are about something else. It is not betrothals they are worrying about.

Until he has an heir, his council will not stop worrying about him, and unsettled in respect to the succession if he died.

Even now the only thing that stops from any nobles claiming this land is because of our family influence.

Of course if they ever press such a claim they know themselves that their claim is invalid.

Before the Vermont, only the Alan has authority over this land in such a forest filled only with villages.

But Arial knows in the castle of the King, various nobles are perpetually plotting to put themselves in the good graces of the King.

Silas has reported to Arial but thankfully the King remains steadfast to his conviction. It was obvious to Arial and his council that a great part of the cause of this restless people vying his place will be removed if he had an offspring.

It became therefore, an important matter of state policy that he should be married and produce an offspring as fast as possible.

In fact many of the friendly nobles, Lord Summersill, Lord Paris, urged this measure upon him, on the accounts which they perceived it would have, in settling the minds of the people of the state and consolidating his power in the East and South.

It is to that measure, that all things forgotten that night as Arial look at his beautiful and lovable Princess.

Arial approached Helia and hugged her gently from the back.

Helia blushes a little but she did not resist. Arial hand is at her hips and Helia traced her fingers playfully at Arial arms. Arial grab that fingers and rubbed it with his hands. Helia giggle a little.

She leaned on Arial chest, gazing at the stars.

‘Look at the city’ Arial said.

‘Hmmm’ she nodded.

In front of them the city is still alive, with lights lighting up the streets. People still trading and sounds of people selling wares and people visiting the city can still be heard if they went down.

‘City of lights’ Helia muttered. Arial smile. The wind breeze through them and Helia shivered.

‘Cold? ‘Arial asked and he hugged tighter. Helia smiles.

‘That’s better’

Arial don’t know what struck him. Was it the atmosphere? Was it the cold? Or was it just because of Helia?

He turns Helia to face him suddenly. Her gaze slid to the side, abashed and flustered. He pulled her against his chest.

His nose tickled her ear. She let out a tiny gasp. Arial closed his lips softly to her slender neck.

He noticed the dragon pendant he bought her a long time ago when Arial stay in the castle or a while.

He wanted to tease her and Helia is blushing red, her face heated.

He then lean closer to her ear.

“I love you” he tells her.

“I love you” and then he kisses her right at her lips.

And Helia is shocked. Because for the first time, she truly felt Arial care for her. She knows he loves her, but she didn’t really let herself believe that Arial really care for her the way she care for him.

But she could feel it in this kiss. Then Arial broke the kiss, their breath mingling.

‘I…thought you didn’t care’ Helia said, a slip of word. Arial look at her like he can’t believe what she just said.

‘I do care. I care’ he said in a trembling voice.

“Even if I am distant at times, and I know I’m guilty of this, and seem as if I do not want to be with you, it is only because this scares me, too.”  He said, honestly from his heart.

He always fears what would happen. Sometimes knowing the future can be a curse. Helia look Arial like she sees him for the first time.

Maybe because of the pain.

Maybe because of the impending war Arial couldn’t help but say everything he has store inside his heart. Honest and vulnerable for the first time.

He too looked at Helia again and he kissed her again for all the lost kisses.

He cups her face in his hands and kisses Helia so deeply that both of them don’t know who is breathing for whom.

Helia thought to herself

“His mouth and tongue taste like sweet wine. Addicting and irresistible. I don’t know how long it lasts, but when I let go of him, I miss it already.” 

‘A thousand kisses will not be enough’ Arial said under his breath.

“Hmm” she said gasping for air.

‘With you…’he said ‘it will never be enough.’ Helia is flustered.

Arial is rarely like this. And then like he is embarrassed at himself, he tries to turn away to hide his face but Helia grab Arial hand and force him to look at her.

‘I want to see you Arial. I wanted to see your face, caress my hand in your cheek and see your eyes when I awoke from my sleep.’ she confesses.

‘I wanted to kiss you when I see you, hug you and hold your hands in the streets. But I always thought you care about your reputation as a lord, so I dare not approach you in public decorum. I distance myself and only approached you when we both are alone. But….kissing you’ and she looked at Arial lips ‘the kiss you gave me show me something.’

‘What?’ Arial said his embarrassment turns to curiosity.

‘I was wrong. By Light, I was wrong. I should have done all those things earlier.’ Arial smile and he said

‘By Light, me too.’

And then holding hands, that night, they embrace each other, and kissed each other with fiery passion.

‘Come to my bed’ Arial said, his eyes hungry like a feral wolf.

‘You said- ‘She asked.

‘In front of you, I forget any promises, any oaths. And I know it’s not like me but with you….I felt free.’

She smiles mischievously.

‘My dear lord, lead on’ she said. Arial smiles a wide smile with a hint of mischievousness. It’s not like him but that night Arial has never seen Helia more beautiful, and that moment seared in his memories.

And Arial carry her in his arm bringing her to his room.

And that night they make love as they share their souls and bare their worries and cast away their fears, Arial praying for a better future, Helia praying for more days of happiness.

But Arial has a hero’s fate only he doesn’t realize it yet.

He is destined to suffer hardship and only if he endures it, can he find his happy ending. But that is for another time

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