Waking to the strong smell of insense and the dull lighting to candles, she rubs her eyes to try and forcus.
"Hello Nicola, welcome." A voice came to her like a bad dream. Nicola sat up, but soon realised her hands and feet were chained to the ground and around her lit very many candles. A man stood before her and smiled, his teeth sharp and scary.
"Who are you?" She breathed.
"I am the Deinte... and you my dear are part of my attraction for the day." With that, he left. Only a few minutes after he departed, where she sat started to move up. She was underground. Light shone bright from above her and the roar of a crowd was heard. As she rose up from below the ground, she looked around for now she was in the middle of an arena and hundreds of Serpents surrounded her.
Nicola wakes from a terrible dream. Her head spinning a bit as she looked around seeing she was out by the pond once agian.
"Oh, never drink the pond water before bed." She tells herself as she stands up, brushing out the leaves from her hair. The horses gone, she the sun high in the sky, she starts her trek back. "Wow... no RF worried about me? Thats unusual." Nicola shrugs it off and walks towards the palace walls.
Alex takes a deep breathe of the mid-morning air. He rather enjoyed getting up later in the day, but he had to be up much early due to being in the RF. He immediately went to a local spa, and got a private room with a masseuse, and then his wondrous massage began.
As she entered the walls of the palace, she dodged the people as they began to set up for the festival which lasted all week. Colorful banners were being strung up from the rafters and all the poles and lights were being decorated. It was Nicola's favortie time for the year, when they celebrated the defeat of the Snakes. Children ran past her with little Snake toys and acted as if they were the big bad RF that defeated them.
Alex was in the Spa for about an hour. He felt fantastic. All his muscles had been so tense from the constant fighting that it was a great feeling to finally relax them. He loved going to that spa, and was sad that he could not go more often.
"Now, what to do the rest of the day..."
Alex walked to the city center, and sat by the fountain, watching the children play, and observing the preparations.
A few women found Nicola and begged her to dress for the festival. Obvoiusly agreeing with the women, Nicola let them dress her. When finished she was wearing a tube top and a long skirt, her hair was braided with flowers in it.
"Thank you ladies." Nicola thanked them and smiled waving as she left them. She moved through the crowd and spotted Alex by the fountain. She headed towards him.
Alex continued to watch the children. How nice it must be to live a carefree life, safe inside the walls. He shook his head an sighed. Was anyone truly safe? He turned and saw Nicola walking towards him. She looked beautiful, and she sighed again.
"Hello Nicola. As pretty as ever, I see. However, I would like to request that you sleep inside the City walls. Please, it would ease my mind as well as the Grandmaster's."
"I understand you like the forest, but it simply is not safe. Especially now. But enough of that. I'm done my little talk. I'm on leave for a week. How are you this fine day?" He did not feel like staying on the topic for long, as he was trying to keep away from "business." He was on leave for goodness sake. He could at least act like it,
"Oh I'm doing alright, my thoughts are you alright?" Nicola leans forward, looking at him. "You're on leave, you can do whatever you like and it can't affect your job! Are you going to play it safe or are you really gonna let loose?" Nicola always loved provoking wild sides to Alex. He was always so calm.
"I'm already fairly loose, thank you. Massages do wonders. You should get one some time." As always, she was trying to provoke him. It was like a game of cat and mouse, but the roles changed frequently. "I'm just surprised you actually let the women dress you today. You normally hate that." He simply smiled.
"I know I do, but once in a while is alright. They enjoy it, so why not for them?" Nicola was still looking at Alex. "And oh heavens no. I could not get a message from someone random, I just wouldn't like them touching me." She shivers as a joke.
"Hence why whenever I get a massage, I go to the same place, and request the same masseuse. Although, I am a soldier, and am more used to Physicals and medical checkups than you are, so it makes sense. Anyway," he pauses and looks around, "What were you planning on doing for the rest of the day?"
"Well, everything is being set up today, so not really much is happening." Nicola looks around as everyone is bustling, as things start to get together, "What did you wanna do? I can always do what I wanna do, but you never do... what would you like to do?"
"All I wish to do, is enjoy the day. So please, what is it that you wish to do?" Alex was being very sincere. He really had no plans for the entire week, so he didn't mind tagging along with Nicola anyway. It also had the added benefit, of her being kept under the watch of a member of the RF, even if he was on leave. He still had his weapon on him, after all.
Nicola smiled at him and grabbed his hand as she got up and pulled him into the crowd of people as they began to just walk around and look at all the things being brought out from the event. A time passed they lost themselves in the moment of the festival as it did with many people.
The rest of the day was a blur for Alex. There was always so much to do at the festival, but he had never really been interested before. Now was different, as he was on leave, and was with someone he cared deeply for. He just hoped he could keep that part a secret. He found it kinda embarrassing. He did, however, find time to sneak off from Nicola, and visited several of the shop stalls, before sneaking back to her, hoping she hadn't noticed.
Nicola had not noticed at all, so man people were talking to her, asking her so many questions she couldn't keep up. But by the end of it all, she was able to get her and Alex away from all the people.
"Wow..." Nicola breaths out. "That was... very, um... hectic." She didn't know how to explain it.
"You're right, I'm not used to it. I guess I will have to... being the heir and all..." Nicola puts her elbows on her knees and leans forward. "It scares me you know... I try not to show it. But, I can't hep it."
"Is that why you run off into the wilds, then? To hide from it? You're better than that. I've known you for a long time, Nicola, and you've never backed down from a challenge. This is but one more step on the road we call life. If you need advice dealing with people, you shouldn't hesitate to ask. Although," he chuckled, "The bureaucratic world is much different from the military one, so I'm not sure what help I could be!"
He then goes rummaging around in his belt satchel for something.
She laughs at his joke, he wouldn't really be much help he was right. "No no, I dont hide from it... I just chose to escape for a while, go back to when I didn't have to worry so much. My time will come when I have to step up and take that responsibilty, but right now its not that time."
She doesn't bother looking over at him, he always rummaged for things.
The larger package contained a sash long enough to wrap around the waist, it was crimson, and had some very intricate designs sewn into it. The second package was a necklace that Alex had caught her looking at in one of the stalls.
"It doesn't matter to me. I'm just happy that you enjoyed your gifts. Besides," he chuckles again, "I wanted to start my week of leave of on good note. Note even sure what I'm going to be doing the rest of the week..."
Her eyes lit up at the sight of the gifts ash she quickly tied the scarf around her waist and then held up the necklace, "Help me?" She turned her back to him and lifted up her hair after she handed him the necklace.
"Well I'd say you started off nicely, but I am not quite sure what you'd like to do either." Nicola was still shocked at the gifts.