“I thought that would end differently.” Eliana spoke quietly.
“Hmm?” I raised an eyebrow, “What do you mean?”
“Alysia… she really did marry the General.”
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.
What she was going to respond with was interrupted by the sound of a firework erupting over the city, followed by ooh’s and awws. We were currently at the reception. Compared to the church, the reception was a much larger celebration, and the reason so many people came to the wedding, even those that weren’t allowed into the church, was that there were layers to this celebration.
Naturally, we were in the main celebration, which was for the respected party guests. However, there was a celebration in the streets too. It had been being set up for weeks, and now it was finally here. It was a boisterous festival, and one could hear the festivities occasionally rise over the rather demure music playing in the more traditional reception.
“I wish we could be out there.” Raissa sighed, her tail drooping slightly.
I had to agree with her. We were sitting at fine tables listening to gentle music play while stuffy people spoke about treaties and agreements. General Octin had gathered a group of men around him, laughing playfully as he spoke with them. They seemed to be hanging on his every word. Actually, they were probably interested in him for reasons that had nothing to do with his words. Should I tell them? Well, that will be for them to find out. He can take care of himself.
“I’m surprised you’re not out there more, talking it up.” I asked Eliana, trying to change the subject.
It wasn’t that I was uncomfortable with her comment or anything, I just wasn’t in the mood to cause an international incident. So, why did it make me feel so uncomfortable? I didn’t want to be one of those guys that felt ownership toward women. Part of the reason I had initially been so bothered by my slave master ability was that I didn’t want to take their choice away. Yes, a lot of that had to do with me being unwilling to recognize that I was good enough to be around these women, but even if I accepted their love, I wanted it to be their choice.
Alysia chose to marry General Nova. She might have been pushed into it by her mother, but it was ultimately her own choice. She said yes. Whether it was for duty or love, it was her decision. If she asked for my opinion, I would have told her not to do it. If she had asked for my help, I would have given it. However, she was silent, and it wasn’t my place to break things up just because we shared a few moments several months ago. There were certainly more fish in the sea, and I had caught several of them.
“I know it seems like I’m a social butterfly, but the honest truth is that I don’t get along much with the aristocracy.” Eliana spoke up. “In Aberis, they contribute to the slavery I despise. Before I met you, Deek, I often went around trying to bring down the slave trade. That’s why I tried to buy out your slaves when I first met you.”
“Buy out…” Raissa glanced over at her. “Did you ever buy out any slaves from Lord Reign in Alerith?”
“Hmm? Once, a long time ago… why?”
“I was freed from Lord Reign. They told me it was done by a young noble… someone Lord Reign couldn’t refuse. I think… maybe you were the one who freed me.”
“R-really?” Eliana’s eyes widened.
She didn’t recognize Raissa. It was likely something she had done spontaneously and without thought. However, she had done it because of the kind of person that she was, and that meant something too. Now, two women who were divided by status, a princess and a slave, had a history. The princess had freed the slave, and now they were both the mothers of children from the same man. It was almost like fate had brought them together. The girls clasped hands, their eyes tearing slightly.
It was truly a beautiful and touching scene. So, why did I still feel so uneasy?
Alysia and her husband danced once initially as part of the first dance, but after that, she sat down with the rest of the wedding party, including her brother and mother, while General Nova went off and spoke with others. Her veil was off now, and I could finally see the expression on her face. Rather, I should say I could see the lack of expression on her face. She showed absolutely nothing. Her eyes stared down at her plate listlessly, and she didn’t eat anything.
Her party, Titan Fall, seemed to be doing the emoting for them. They all had weepy or unhappy expressions on their faces. I had been the source of a couple of angry looks too. Like Harem, they had seemed to expect me to do something about it. However, it wasn’t my responsibility to save everyone, especially from their own choices. It only led to me feeling more awkward.
Her mother Xin left the party quickly, saying something about how partying was for the young. The King remained in his spot, occasionally toasting or speaking to those that were in a high enough position to approach him at the head seat. Time passed, and I was considering abandoning the party so that I could take the girls to the festival outside. Eliana really loved food, so I was eager to have her show me some of the best foods at this location. I was also eager as a cook to learn about the local ingredients. Faeyna was right there with me.
We weren’t in a rush though. I could always portal home whenever I wanted, so we decided we’d be staying a week in this country. Most of the work would be done by Faeyna, who has some experience speaking to suppliers. The goal was to create trade agreements with local merchants. While I wasn’t interested in peace deals or anything on the national scale, especially since I shared no borders with this country, it’d be nice to secure some trade.
I was also interested in buying the slaves up, just as I had done in Chalm. Yes, the slave trade did exist in the Ost Republic, however, it was mostly humans who were slaves. There were a lot of restrictions toward the sale of humans from those who lived in Aberis, but those restrictions were supposedly lifted with this trade agreement. That meant it was a prime time to increase the population of free slaves.
“Deek.” A voice came from behind me.
I turned in surprise to see that Alysia had finally stood up. She had walked over to me. It was the first move she had made since the wedding took place, and it had caused many eyes to turn. The King’s look, in particular, was as cold as ice. I glanced around to see that she had picked a time that her husband had left on some duty, so he wasn’t here to hold her back.
“What is it?”
“Would you… care to dance with the bride?” She asked.
“Please…” She asked. “Can you just give me this once?”
For the first time this night, she had just a bit of vulnerability on her face. I could see the woman who had done, no, was still doing something that she didn’t want.
After all, she had finally asked.
“It’s probably best if we leave after this.” I told the girls through Slave Communication. “You guys go on ahead of me. I’ll meet up with you.”
The girls seemed to understand. They nodded and started gathering their things. I was going to have a moment with Alysia, and it was probably better that they weren’t there. I took Alysia’s hand and led her out onto the dance floor, but I still couldn’t help but ask her something.
“What about your husband? Won’t he be angry?”
“The Ost Republic have a saying, ‘A blade is only as real as the cut it makes.’”
The pair of us put our hands together, and just at that moment a song ended and new one began. It was a slow song, allowing the pair of us to dance slowly and close together. As we started to dance, the floor cleared out as all the other dancers suddenly decided they had some place to be.
“What does that mean?”
“It means that since my husband isn’t here, and no one would shame him by mentioning it, then it is like wind in the night.”
She wasn’t wrong. Most of the people seemed to be looking the other way, as if they didn’t see the new bride dancing with the other man. I was already challenged by General Nova earlier today, so there wasn’t a person here who didn’t know that I had enough of a relationship with Alysia that her husband had felt threatened enough to issue a challenge.
“I see… but can you be confident that this blade won’t cut?” I asked as we moved across the dance floor.
I wasn’t a good dancer before this event, but I still had all the skills equipped from my fight earlier. With quick footwork and fast learning, I was able to learn the basic steps extremely quickly. My dancing improved noticeably, and within half a minute we were flowing across the dance floor like two practiced dancers who were intimate with each other.
Alysia smiled slightly; her eyes slightly wet. “I know it cuts. A thousand painful times, all across my heart. However, I’m the only one who will ever see and know of it.”
“If that is how you feel, then why did you marry him?” I asked.
“You don’t understand. It’s why I was born.” She responded.
“He… um… has a special soul. It’s why he is so strong. It’s a soul of light and darkness. His children will have a similar soul.”
“The yin-yang soul?”
“You’ve heard of it? Down here, we call it the god soul. He’s a very strong man. I do not know how you were able to defeat him.”
“Well…” I shook my head. “So, what you’re saying is that you’re being forced to marry him not just to win the human vote, but to have children with yin-yang souls?”
“Is he not the perfect husband for me as a princess?” She asked. “Bloodline, Status, Heredity… he serves all the marks.”
“But… does that make you happy?” I asked just as the final beat of the song ended.
Our dance came to an end too soon. My girls had already left the reception and were on their way to the embassy. The Tibults had slipped away as well, either to return to the embassy or to be in private meetings, just like General Nova.
“Goodbye, Lord Deekson.” She said formally, dropping her hands. “I wish this moment would last forever.”
I hesitate for a moment and then sighed. I reached out grabbed her, wrapping my arms around her waist, and pulling her body to me.
“Your wish is my command, my lady.”
“D-Deek!” Her eyes widened in surprise.
I used Teleport, and with a flash of light, the pair of us transported away. I had stolen the bride from her reception.